Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan —
Scattered violence ranging from airstrikes to roadside bombings killed at least 21 people over a 48-hour span, including U.S. troops, Afghan children and members of the Afghan security forces, officials said Saturday.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has failed to provide a respite from the deaths and injuries of civilians and soldiers across Afghanistan, although U.S. military fatalities are climbing at a slower rate this month than in July, the deadliest month of the war for American forces.
This year has seen a sharp increase in civilian casualties. The United Nations reported a 31% jump in noncombatant deaths and injuries in the first half of 2010, three-quarters of which were blamed on the Taliban and other insurgents.
The NATO force accepted responsibility, however, for some of the deaths Friday and Saturday.
Three Afghan policemen were killed in an apparently errant coalition airstrike in Jowzjan province, in Afghanistan's north, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said. In Farah province, in western Afghanistan, a woman and two children were killed in an airstrike that was aimed at insurgents, it said, expressing regret over the civilian deaths.