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19 killed as violence continues into new year

world Updated: Jan 02, 2008 21:27 IST
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Roadside bombs and military operations in Afghanistan killed 19 people, including 14 Taliban fighters, as the record violence that Afghanistan saw in 2007 continued into the new year, officials said on Wednesday.

Afghan and foreign troops killed eight suspected Taliban fighters Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, while a roadside bomb in the east's Khost province killed two Afghan security guards working for a US military base, an Afghan Defense Ministry statement said.

Five other militants were killed in separate incidents when roadside bombs they were planting exploded prematurely, the ministry statement said.

It also said Taliban militants killed an Afghan army officer and wounded another in Helmand province's Sarkono area.

Police in Khost killed a would-be suicide bomber who was carrying hand grenades as he tried to enter a police checkpoint Tuesday, said Wazir Pacha, a spokesman for Khost's provincial police chief. A roadside bomb in the south killed two border police in Kandahar province, said Gen. Abdul Razik.

Afghanistan experienced a record level of violence that killed more than 6,500 people in 2007, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.

Afghan and foreign troops killed the eight suspected militants in Helmand's Musa Qala area, the statement said. Helmand, the world's largest poppy-growing region, has seen some of Afghanistan's worst violence in the past year.

British, US and Afghan troops forced the Taliban to flee the town of Musa Qala last month. The militants had controlled the town and its surrounding areas for more than 10 months. The guards were traveling in Khost province's Yaqoubi district when an explosion from the roadside device ripped through their vehicle, Pacha said.

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