KABUL, Afghanistan — Seven international service members, including at least five Americans, were killed on Saturday in Afghanistan in the latest deadly attacks against foreign troops since the Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive this week.
The U.S.-led coalition reported that five U.S. service members were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan and later said an Afghan army soldier killed two more foreign troops in the west. Their nationalities are not known.
The renewed violence came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged that his government has been receiving funds from CIA for more than a decade as part of regular monthly assistance from the U.S. government.
Karzai told reporters at a news conference that the CIA's station chief in Kabul has assured him that regular funding the U.S. intelligence agency gives his government will not be cut off.
The coalition did not disclose the location of the roadside bombing, however, Javeed Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, said the coalition patrol hit the bomb in Maiwand district of the province, the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban. Capt. Luca Carniel, a spokesman for the coalition in Kabul, confirmed that all five were Americans.
Later, the coalition reported that the Afghan soldier turned his weapon on coalition troops, the latest of so-called insider attacks. Such attacks by members of the Afghan security forces against their colleagues or foreign troops threaten confidence in the Afghan forces as they work to take over responsibility from international troops.
The coalition did not disclose further details, but said the shooting was under investigation.
Karzai had earlier confirmed that his government had received such payments following a story published in The New York Times that said the CIA had given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags.
"The help and assistance from the U.S. is for our National Directorate of Security. That is state-to-state, government-to-government regular assistance," Karzai said. "So that is a government institution helping another government institution, and we appreciate all this assistance and help, all this assistance is very useful for us. We have spent it in different areas (and) solved lots of our problems."
Karzai would not say how much assistance his government had received because it was being used for intelligence work, but acknowledged it was in cash and that "all the money which we have spent, receipts have been sent back to the intelligence service of the United States monthly."
He claimed that much of the money was used to care for wounded employees of the NDS, Afghanistan's intelligence service, and operational expenses.