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Suicide attack kills 7 in Afghanistan

world Updated: Apr 14, 2007 15:04 IST

A suicide bomber blew himself up next to several Afghan border policemen in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, leaving at least seven officers dead and six others wounded, officials said.

The bomber attacked the officers when he tried to enter the border police base in Khost province, said Gen. Qasim Kheil, a border police commander. One civilian was also killed in the blast, he said.

The attack happened as fighting between militants and foreign and Afghan forces appears to be intensifying after the usual winter lull.

Meanwhile, officials said U.S.-led troops and aircraft pounded Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan, killing more than 70 on Thursday, as NATO-led troops pressed on with their largest-ever anti-Taliban offensive in Afghanistan's insurgent-haunted south.

A British soldier from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment was killed and two others wounded during a gunbattle in the south on Friday, officials said.

The two wounded soldiers were hospitalized and their condition was not serious, NATO said. In Helmand province, the focus of the offensive, US-led coalition and Afghan troops clashed for five hours Thursday with guerrillas in the district of Sangin, a coalition statement said.

The troops "pursued fleeing Taliban fighters northward," and "more than 35 Taliban fighters were killed," the statement said. The account could not be independently verified because of the remoteness of the area.

More than 5,000 NATO and Afghan troops are engaged in Operation Achilles, launched last month to flush militants entrenched in the northern tip of the opium-producing province.

A series of bomb and gun attacks have killed 11 NATO soldiers since last weekend, despite their superior firepower and support from the US-trained Afghan army.