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Foreign soldier among 10 killed in Afghan bombing

KANDAHAR, AFP: Eight Afghan security officials and a foreign soldier were among 10 people killed in a Taliban-style roadside bombing in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said on Sunday.

“Last night there was an improvised explosive device (IED) attack,” Arghandab district local administration chief Shah Muhammad told AFP.

Provincial government spokesman Zalmai Ayoubi said an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldier, six Afghan policemen, two Afghan army soldiers and a translator working for the foreign forces were killed in the bombing. An ISAF serviceman and another Afghan policeman were injured, Ayoubi added. Separately, the NATO-led foreign forces said one service member had died “following an IED attack in southern Afghanistan yesterday”. A spokesman declined to give further details or confirm Afghan casualties.

But a Western security source confirmed to AFP that the Afghan and ISAF reports were referring to the same incident.

In a separate attack, in the southwestern province of Farah, six Afghan soldiers were killed on Sunday and another three wounded when their patrol was ambushed in Bala Buluk district, the Afghan Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and remains their stronghold who have been fighting the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and its Western allies since being ousted from power a decade ago.

The attack came after a US soldier went on a rampage elsewhere in Kandahar province earlier this month.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 38, of the US 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, has been formally accused of 17 premeditated murders for the killings – charges that could carry the death penalty. He is also accused of six counts of assault and attempted murder.

The Taliban have threatened to take revenge for that incident.

IEDs were the single largest killer of Afghan civilians last year, a UN report said last month, which also revealed that insurgents had increased their use of bombs that can be detonated even by children stepping on them.

Afghanistan UN Mission document said that a total of 3,021 civilians died in the Afghan conflict – mostly at the hands of insurgents – in 2011, up eight percent from 2010.

There are, currently 130,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan helping Kabul fight the insurgency, but combat forces are due to be withdrawn by the end of 2014 when security responsibility will be handed over to the Afghan government.

Published Date: Monday, March 26th, 2012 | 05:10 AM

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