Five soldiers with the US-led military coalition have been killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The attack comes just days after the country's president acknowledged his government received secret US funding.
In a statement NATO confirmed the deaths from Saturday's attack, but would not comment on the exact location where the bombing took place.
"Five International Security Assistance Force service members died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today," the statement read.
While NATO would not elaborate on the nationalities of those killed until families of the deceased had been notified, Kandahar police chief Abdul Razaiq told news agency DPA that the "five soldiers killed in the bombing in Maiwand district were US citizens."
US, British and Canadian soldiers make up the majority of NATO troops stationed in the region.
Saturday's deaths bring the number of coalition soldiers killed this year in Afghanistan to 47, including 32 Americans.
Saturday's attacks come as Afghan President Hamid Karzai earlier this week acknowledged his government had been receiving funds from the US Central Intelligence Agency for more than a decade as part of a US government assistance package.
At a press conference following Saturday's violence, Karzai told reporters the CIA's station chief in Kabul guaranteed the continuation of the regular monthly funding, despite recent attacks on international troops.
Karzai would not comment on the amount of money given by the US, but said it had been used for intelligence work and that it was all cash.
"All the money which we have spent, receipts have been sent back to the intelligence service of the United States monthly," he said.
He claimed most of the money had been used to aid wounded employees of the NDS, Afghanistan's internal intelligence service, and operational costs.
"It is an official government deal between two governments. This is happening all over the world – such deals between governments – and in Afghanistan, which is a needy country, these sorts of deals are very important and useful," he told reporters.
Taliban spring offensive
This is the latest deadly attack against foreign troops since the Taliban began their spring offensive on April 27.
Last week, three British soldiers were killed when their armored vehicle hit a bomb in the southern province of Helmand.
The international coalition is scheduled to end combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
jlw/slk (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)