3 officials fired after prison break

The Afghan government announced Thursday it had fired three senior police officials in the southern province Kandahar, two weeks after the Taliban staged a spectacular prison break that freed hundreds of militants.

Insurgents freed in the June 13 assault on Kandahar's main jail quickly joined ranks with local Taliban fighters and briefly overran part of a strategic district close to the city. NATO had to rush in hundreds of troops last week to flush them out.

Meanwhile, three soldiers from the U.S.-led military coalition and their interpreter were killed while on patrol south of the capital, Kabul, military officials said. Foreign troop deaths in Afghanistan have been surging in recent weeks, and last month U.S. deaths exceeded those in Iraq.

The firing of the senior police officials following the Kandahar prison break underscored how damaging the Afghan government considered that incident.

The well-coordinated assault rattled area residents' confidence in the government of President Hamid Karzai, raising new fears about the strength of the insurgency more than six years after the Taliban movement was toppled in a U.S.-led invasion.