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BY PATRICK QUINN AND RAHIM FAIEZ

KABUL -- Seven U.S. service members were killed Saturday in one of the deadliest days for Americans in Afghanistan in recent months.

An eighth service member from NATO-led coalition forces also was killed in northern Afghanistan, but the victim's nationality was not immediately available.

The attacks were the latest since the Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive.

The U.S.-led coalition reported that five international troops were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, and coalition spokesman Capt. Luca Carniel confirmed that all five were American.

The coalition did not disclose the location of the roadside bombing, but Javeed Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, said the coalition patrol hit the bomb in the Maiwand district of the province, the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban.

Later, the coalition reported that a soldier with the Afghan National Army turned his weapon on coalition troops in the west, killing two in the most recent so-called insider attack. Such attacks by members of the Afghan security forces against their colleagues or international troops have eroded confidence in the Afghan forces as they work to take over from foreign forces.

Both killed were American, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the nationalities before an official announcement.

It was the third time since last summer than seven Americans have been killed in a single day in the war.

On April 6, Afghan militants killed six Americans, including a young female diplomat, and an Afghan doctor in a pair of attacks in southern Afghanistan. The three U.S. service members, two U.S. civilians and the doctor were killed when the group was struck by an explosion while traveling to donate books to a school. A seventh American, a civilian, was killed in a separate insurgent attack in the east.

On Aug. 16, seven American service members were killed in two attacks in Kandahar province. Six were killed when their helicopter was shot down by insurgents and one soldier died in a roadside bomb explosion.

The renewed violence came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged at a news conference that regular payments his government has received from the CIA for more than a decade would continue.

Karzai also said that talks on a U.S.-Afghan bilateral security agreement to govern future American military presence in the country had been delayed because of conditions the Afghans were placing on the deal.

The New York Times had reported that for more than a decade, 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.

Karzai described the payments as a form of "government-to-government" assistance, and while he wouldn't say how much the CIA gave to the National Directorate of Security, which is the Afghan intelligence service, he said the financial help was very useful.

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