by Abdul Haleem, Zhang Jianhua
KABUL, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Taliban-linked activities claimed the life of a soldier with NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the militancy-ridden Afghanistan on Sunday, bringing the fatalities of the alliance to three since the beginning of 2011 on Saturday.
"An International Security Assistance Force service member died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today," a brief statement released by ISAF here in Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday admitted.
However, the alliance in the statement did not identify the nationality of the victim, saying it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
Two more NATO soldiers were killed in the first day of the year on Saturday, also in the restive southern region where Taliban militants are active.
Troops mostly from the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia have been stationed in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces known as the hotbed of Taliban militants.
Furthermore, the military alliance in conjunction with Afghan security forces has apprehended eight insurgents.
A Taliban operative responsible for organizing suicide car bomb attack in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province was captured on Saturday, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force ( ISAF) said in a press release issued here on Sunday.
"Afghan and coalition forces captured yesterday a Taliban leader who is directly associated with the December 18 suicide vehicle-borne improvised attacks in Kandahar City," the press release added.
In the suicide attack, rocked Kandahar city, the capital of Kandahar province some 450 km south of Afghan capital Kabul, on Dec. 18, two civilians were killed and six others sustained injuries.
However, it did not reveal the name of the arrested Taliban operative but added the detained Taliban leader was responsible for supplying insurgents and planning attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Kandahar province.
In similar operation also on Saturday, Afghan forces backed by NATO-led troops captured seven Taliban militants including two shadowy judges in Kandahar's neighboring Ghazni province, some 125 km south of capital city Kabul, a local official said Sunday.
"Afghan forces with the support of international troops raided Taliban hideout in Andar district Saturday night as a result seven Taliban rebels including two judges namely Mullah Habibullah and Mullah Abdul Samad were captured," governor of Andar district Shir Khan Yusufi asserted to Xinhua on Sunday.
More than 140,000 NATO-led multinational ISAF have been stationed in Afghanistan to contain increasing insurgency in the war-torn central Asian state.
Special Report: Afghanistan Situation