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Four Afghans, two troops killed in bomb attacks

world Updated: Nov 22, 2010 21:24 IST
Afghan civilians

Bomb attacks killed four Afghan civilians and two foreign soldiers on Monday, as the military said it had detained a number of Taliban militants over the planting and supply of the deadly devices.

The civilians were killed in a blast in the Zurmat district of eastern Paktiya province, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

Foreign troops took two other civilians with injuries to hospital, it added.

The second bomb killed two soldiers in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said, without giving further details.

Elsewhere, the German military told AFP that three of its soldiers were injured when their vehicles struck a roadside bomb in the northern city of Kunduz. There was no immediate word on the extent of the troops' injuries.

All three blasts were blamed on the Taliban, which with other Islamist militants linked to Al-Qaeda has been fighting a deadly guerrilla war against more than 140,000 foreign forces in Afghanistan for the last nine years.

The latest civilian deaths come after three people were killed in a roadside bomb attack on Sunday in southern Kandahar province, which has been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the conflict.

Improvised explosive devices are the weapon of choice for insurgents in their fight against foreign forces and account for the majority of military, and increasingly, civilian deaths.

The United Nations said in August that the first six months of 2010 were the deadliest for ordinary Afghans since the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban in 2001.

A total of 1,271 were killed, mostly in insurgent attacks, a rise of one third over the same period in 2009, with a 55 percent increase in casualties among children.

NATO's top civilian envoy to Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill, was forced Monday to clarify his remarks to a BBC television news programme in which he suggested that children may be safer in Kabul than in London or New York.

Sedwill said his comments -- described as misleading by aid agencies and human rights groups -- were meant to show the uneven levels of violence in Afghanistan and that security in Kabul and other big cities had improved.

On the military side, 657 foreign service personnel have now lost their lives so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on the independent website, which tracks coalition fatalities.

The toll is the highest since the US-led invasion in late 2001. Last year 521 NATO soldiers died.

ISAF said in separate statements that troops detained a number of insurgents in Paktiya and neighbouring Khost province on Sunday, including one suspected of supplying material for roadside bombs.

Two other suspected militants were held in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

One was described as a "key Taliban improvised explosive device leader" and the other a "senior Taliban leader... (who) commands and controls a large group of insurgents in and around Musa Qala district".

Troops involved in the second raid came under fire as they began a search of a compound in the Naw Zad district of Helmand, killing three insurgents, ISAF said.