( AP ) - Three NATO troops died Wednesday when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, while gunmen opened fire on people praying in a mosque in eastern Afghanistan, killing three and wounding four others, officials said.
Assailants also ambushed a convoy belonging to U.N.'s Office for Project Services on the main Kabul-Kandahar highway, killing two Afghan guards, wounding another and damaging two vehicles, said Jailani Khan, highway police chief for Zabul province.
The three NATO troops died when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in the country's volatile south, a NATO statement said. Their nationalities were not released.
Also in the south, police clashed with insurgents and retook control of Miya Nishin district in Kandahar late Tuesday, a day after militants had overrun it, said Esmatullah Alizai, provincial police chief.
However, hours later, Alizai said his forces lost Ghorak district in the same province to the militants.
Kandahar borders mountainous Uruzgan province, where fierce fighting since Saturday between Taliban militants and Afghan and NATO forces have reportedly left more than 100 people dead, including dozens of civilians.
The mosque attack occurred in Ismail Kheil, a village in neighboring Khost province on Tuesday evening. Two unidentified men entered the building and fatally shot three people while wounding four others, said Wazir Pacha, a provincial police spokesman.
The unidentified assailants fled, and the motive for the shooting remained unknown, Pacha said.
NATO said it faced a seasonal surge in militant operations, but dismissed recent suicide and bomb attacks as "militarily insignificant."
A bomb killed 35 people, most of them police trainers, in a bus in the capital, Kabul, on Sunday. In the eastern city of Jalalabad, Nangarhar Gov. Gul Agha Sherzoi said Wednesday that a Pakistani and two Afghans were arrested for allegedly planning suicide attacks against him.
"We find ourselves in the midst of the so-called fighting season, when what we had predicted is taking place: an increase in suicide bombings and more desperate attempts by the enemies of peace and stability to present the illusion that they are stronger than they are," said Lt. Col. Maria Carl, spokeswoman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
Violence has claimed about 2,400 lives, including civilians, militants and troops, so far this year, according to an Associated Press tally of figures from Western military and Afghan officials.
Aid agencies warned Tuesday that goodwill toward foreign forces has faded since the fall of the Taliban five years ago because of airstrikes and botched raids by U.S. and NATO troops.
The ACBAR umbrella group of 94 foreign and Afghan aid agencies said foreign forces had killed at least 230 Afghan civilians this year, including 60 women and children.
AP's tally puts the figure through June 17 at 152, while another 169 were killed by insurgents.
It was not clear how the umbrella group - which includes Oxfam, Save the Children and CARE International - arrived at its higher total.
Karzai has pleaded repeatedly for international forces to coordinate more closely with Afghan authorities in order to protect civilians near military front lines.
The aid agencies laid much of the blame on U.S. actions, alleging that indiscriminate use of force had resulted in the death of innocents.