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Monday’s attacks come two weeks after a U.S. soldier allegedly went on a pre-dawn shooting rampage in neighboring Kandahar province, killing 17 people and wounding six. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, is accused of walking away from the base on possibly two occasions on the same night and gunning down men, women and nine children while they slept in their beds.

The NATO deaths further raise tensions at a critical time, as international troops have stepped up training and mentoring of Afghan soldiers, police and government workers so that Afghans can take the lead and the foreign forces can go home.

The success of the partnership, which is the focus of the U.S.-led coalition’s exit strategy, is threatened by the rising number of Afghan police and soldiers — or militants disguised in their uniforms — who are turning their guns on their foreign allies.

Six American troops were killed in what were believed to be revenge attacks for the burning of the Korans, although it is impossible to know the exact motive because most the shooters were killed in the incidents.

The U.S. apologized for the burning, saying the Islamic texts were mistakenly sent to a garbage burn pit Feb. 20 at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul. But the incident raised what had been simmering animosity toward outsiders to a full boil. Deadly protests raged around the nation for six days — the most visible example of a deep-seated resentment bred by what Afghans view is a general lack of respect for their culture and religion.

Associated Press writers Amir Shah in Kabul, Mirwais Khan in Kandahar, and David Stringer and Cassandra Vinograd in London contributed to this report.