- Associated Press - Sunday, October 17, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A NATO service member was killed Sunday by a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan, the military coalition said in a statement.

NATO declined to provide further details, in keeping with a policy of waiting for national authorities to release such information.

At least 44 NATO service members have been killed so far this month in Afghanistan — many in the south, where a surge of U.S. troops in recent months has increased fighting.

Even as NATO troops and Afghan forces have flooded Kandahar, the south’s biggest city, bomb attacks have continued. On Saturday, a series of blasts in the city killed two civilians.

Separately, NATO said an airstrike in the east killed more than five insurgents. The strike was aimed at an insurgent leader in Khost province who recently conducted attacks in the area and was traveling with fighters armed with heavy weapons and machine guns. The alliance said that it could not confirm if the targeted leader had been killed.

The alliance previously said the strike killed people other than insurgents but then corrected its statement, saying no civilians were killed.

Two Taliban commanders, identified as Kaka Abdul Khaliq and Kako, were killed in an operation in Kandahar’s Zhari district Saturday, according to Afghan officials.

A well-known Taliban fighter, Mullah Rahmatullah, also was wounded during the raid, a statement from the Kandahar governor’s office said Sunday.

Khaliq was widely considered the top insurgent commander in Zhari, with Kako working as his deputy.

According to Zhari district Police Chief Bisimillah Jan, Rahmatullah was captured in Saturday’s operation.

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