KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S.-led coalition troops battled a group of militants in eastern Afghanistan, killing over 30 insurgents, while three NATO soldiers were killed in a roadside blast, officials said Thursday.
The coalition troops used small arms and airstrikes while attacking the militants in the eastern Laghman province on Wednesday, the coalition said in a statement.
"During the operation, more than 30 militants were killed," the statement said. A cache of mortars and bomb-making material was destroyed as well.
There were no coalition or Afghan troops killed during the raid, which targeted militants who have previously attacked international forces in that area, the coalition said.
Separately, a roadside bomb in the central Ghazni province killed three NATO soldiers Wednesday, the alliance said in a statement.
NATO did not release the soldiers nationalities. Polish troops patrol the province.
The attacks came days after 10 French NATO paratroopers were killed and 21 others were wounded in Kabul province in one of the most lethal Taliban ground attacks on international forces in Afghanistan since 2001.
Militants are showing greater determination to confront U.S. and NATO troops in their attempt to wrest back the control they lost nearly seven years ago.
This year will likely be the deadliest for international troops since the 2001 invasion. Some 178 international soldiers, including about 96 Americans, have died in Afghanistan this year, according to an Associated Press count. That pace should far surpass the record 222 international troop deaths in 2007.
More than 3,400 people — mostly militants — have been killed in insurgency-related violence this year, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.