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Three US soldiers killed in Afghanistan blast

Three US soldiers were killed when a homemade bomb exploded Saturday in southern Afghanistan, the same day thousands of US, British and Afghan forces began the biggest-ever operation in the country.

world Updated: Feb 13, 2010 19:42 IST

Three US soldiers were killed when a homemade bomb exploded Saturday in southern Afghanistan, the same day thousands of US, British and Afghan forces began the biggest-ever operation in the country.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), in a statement, confirmed the deaths of the soldiers, but said they were not part of the major operations carried out by some 15,000 US-led forces in southern Helmand province.

A suicide bomber also hit a NATO-led convoy in Kandahar city, the provincial capital for the province of the same name on Saturday, Sardar Mohammad Zazai, the provincial police chief said.

He could not say if there were any casualties. But Mohammad Nader, a resident of the city's Bagh-e-Pul area, said that NATO helicopters landed in the area, suggesting that there could have been casualties. NATO forces often evacuate their victims by choppers.

NATO military would not confirm if it was the same incident.

In the neighbouring province of Helmand, the combined forces of the operation named Mushtarak, which means "together", began their highly publicized offensive shortly after midnight Saturday. They have so far killed five insurgents, officials said.