GHAZNI: Taliban bombers killed five Polish soldiers in an attack on their convoy in Afghanistan on Wednesday, one of the heaviest single losses for Warsaw's Nato contingent in the 10-year war.
Poland's news agency PAP cited unnamed government officials as saying the troops died when a roadside bomb exploded next to a Nato convoy.
When contacted by AFP, a spokesman for Polish forces in Afghanistan refused to issue an official comment "pending notification of the families of the victims".
Poland has 2,600 soldiers in Afghanistan and is one of the largest contributors to Nato's US-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), which expects to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014.
In Kabul, Isaf confirmed that five Nato soldiers were killed in an attack in the southeastern province of Ghazni, where Polish troops are responsible for security, but declined to release their nationalities in keeping with policy.
Ghazni provincial police chief Dilawar Zahid said the attack took place in the Rawza area of Ghazni city at 11:30 am (0700 GMT).
He confirmed casualties, but could not give an exact number.
A witness told AFP that an Isaf vehicle had been "totally destroyed" and saw helicopters evacuating casualties.
The Taliban claimed responsibility in a text message spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid sent to AFP. He claimed the Taliban had targeted a Polish convoy and killed several Nato soldiers, without providing any evidence.
Wednesday's killings bring to 36 Poland's death toll from the conflict in Afghanistan, where 140,000 US-led foreign troops are fighting a decade-long Taliban insurgency and supporting Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government.
Poland first sent forces to Afghanistan in March 2002, shortly after the Taliban regime collapsed following the 2001 US-led invasion.
Western capitals have started to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan as part of plans to transfer increasing responsibility for security to Afghans.
But thousands of foreign soldiers are expected to remain in the war-torn country in a training and mentoring capacity well after 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ