AFGHAN insurgents have executed seven men near Kabul for working with Westerners, Afghan officials said, while four NATO troops and an interpreter were killed in bomb attacks.

The deaths come after NATO reported an escalation in insurgent attacks in recent months, amid growing unrest in areas neighbouring the capital.

The bodies of four men working for a Western security company were discovered in Jalrez district of Wardak province, some 40 kilometers from Kabul, Afghan army General Abdul Razaq Safi told AFP.

The men had been seized by Taliban insurgents while travelling to work from Kabul on Tuesday.

“Their hands were tied behind their backs and their chests riddled with bullets,” he said. “They were killed by the Taliban because they worked for a foreign security company.”

Separately, the Islamist militants killed three Afghans who worked for NATO in Logar province some 70 kilometres south of the capital Kabul, officials said.

The bodies of the men, who had been kidnapped four days earlier, were dumped by the insurgents in the main bazaar of Charkh district in Logar late Wednesday, Charkh district governor Humayoon Farooq told AFP.

“The Taliban dropped their bullet-riddled bodies in the bazaar of Charkh district and fled the scene before security forces arrived,” he said.

The Taliban warned at the start of their annual summer offensive this year that they would target Afghans working for foreign organisations.

Large numbers of local people work for Western civilian and military projects in Afghanistan, where NATO has 130,000 troops helping the Kabul government fight the insurgents.

Four NATO soldiers and an Afghan interpreter were killed in three separate roadside bomb attacks in eastern and southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

Two soldiers and the interpreter died in an explosion in the east of the country and two others were killed in similar attacks in the south, ISAF said, without giving further details or naming the nationalities of the dead.

ISAF has noted a surge in attacks in recent months since the start of the Taliban’s annual summer offensive.

“Enemy-initiated attacks over the last three months (April-June) are 11 per cent higher compared to the same quarter last year,” ISAF said in a report last week.

The month of June alone saw the highest number of attacks in nearly two years, with more than 100 assaults a day across the country, including fire fights and roadside bombings, the US-led coalition said.

Another roadside bomb on Wednesday claimed the lives of a district chief in southern Zabul province and two of his guards, an official said.