A suicide attack hit a NATO patrol in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing three coalition service members, the international military force said, while Afghan officials added that a civilian was also killed in the bombing.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the assault in Kunar province, an eastern stronghold of the insurgency that lies along the volatile border with Pakistan where militants have hideouts.

The attack emphasised the insurgency’s continued ability to wreak violence despite fierce efforts by the Afghan government and international forces to wipe out their leadership.

Two attackers wearing suicide vests detonated their explosives as a NATO foot patrol passed by the headquarters of the provincial government in Kunar, provincial police chief Ewas Mohammad Naziri said.

NATO confirmed that three of its service members were killed in a suicide attack, but did not give any more details, including the nationalities of the troops who were killed.

At least one Afghan civilian was killed and three were wounded in twin blasts that took place at about 10 a.m., said Wasifullah Wasify, a spokesman for Kunar’s governor.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that two insurgents drove explosives-laden vehicles into the NATO patrol from opposite directions. He claimed they killed 17 international soldiers. The insurgents typically claim far higher death tolls in their attacks.

Wednesday’s attack brought to 15 the number of international troops killed so far in August.

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