Three NATO soldiers were killed in separate attacks in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, while seven Afghan guards died in suspected Taliban attacks in the same region, officials said.

Meanwhile, Afghan and NATO forces killed 14 suspected Taliban fighters in an operation in the southern province of Kandahar, the provincial government said Tuesday.

Two of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops were killed by a roadside bomb, the military alliance said in a statement.

The third soldier died as a result of small—arms fire also on Tuesday in the same region, a separate ISAF statement said.

ISAF did not reveal the nationalities of the deceased. Most of the soldiers stationed in the southern provinces are from the United States, Britain, Canada and the Netherlands.

Most NATO fatalities this year have been caused by roadside homemade bombs, a tactic Taliban heavily rely on as part of their insurgency.

Tuesday’s deaths, which came a day after 10 NATO soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan, took the total number of foreign troops killed in the country so far this year to 247, according to iCasualties.org, an independent website that tracks military fatalities.

The US and NATO plan to increase the total number of troops to 150,000 by this summer. The military escalation is aimed at turning the tide of the more than eight—year—war, and particularly driving the Taliban out of their home base of Kandahar province later this year.

Afghan and NATO troops conducted an operation in the Zamtu Nawi area of Kandahar on Monday night, the provincial governor’s office said in a statement. “As result of the operation 14 opposition forces were killed and six others were injured,” it said.

The statement did not say if there were any casualties among the combined forces.

Separately, seven guards working for private security firms were killed Monday and six were injured in suspected Taliban attacks in the southern province of Ghazni, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Five guards were killed and four were injured in two roadside bombings in the Wahiz and Band Aab districts of Ghazni province, it said, adding that two other guards were killed and as many were injured in Ghazni’s Andar district when suspected militants ambushed their convoy.

Taliban militants have intensified their attacks on private security companies, which escort convoys supplying foreign troops in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

Ghazni links the capital, Kabul, with the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, where major operations are planned by NATO and Afghan forces this year.

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