Six dead in Afghan attacks
Taliban-style suicide blasts and other attacks killed six people in Afghanistan on Wednesday as the new NATO commander said he wanted to work with his Pakistani counterparts to tackle extremist violence.
A child and a government worker died in the two suicide bombings, which occurred near the Pakistan border, which sees most of the attacks claimed by the Taliban.
In the first, a bomber blew up an explosives-filled car near a Canadian security convoy close to the town of Spin Boldak, a Canadian military spokesman said. None of the soldiers were hurt, he told AFP.
A boy aged between eight and 10 was injured and died later, border police commander Abdul Raziq told AFP.
A second suicide car bomb exploded outside the government headquarters in Jaji Maydan district in the eastern province of Khost, provincial police chief Mohammad Ayob told AFP.
He said 20 people were wounded, most of them civilians. The interior ministry said 23 were hurt, some critically.
One of the wounded, a government employee, died later in the main district hospital, chief doctor Abdul Majeed Mangal told AFP.
In other attacks, a remote-controlled bomb exploded on a dirt road in the central province of Ghanzi, killing two policemen including a district commander, deputy provincial police chief Mohammad Zaman said.
And in the province's Qarabagh district, Taliban fired on a convoy of fuel tankers and set off fighting that killed two guards and wounded three more, he said.
The US-led coalition, which works alongside the NATO-led and Afghan security forces, announced meanwhile that international troops on a humanitarian mission in the southern province of Helmand had come under attack on Tuesday.
A vehicle had struck a mine near the town of Sangin and troops were then ambushed. A second vehicle later also hit a mine.
Troops called in precision air strikes that killed more than a dozen insurgents, it said in a statement.
A coalition spokesman told AFP some soldiers were injured but they were not US nationals and he could not give details.
Three soldiers with NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed in attacks on Tuesday, taking to 70 the number of international soldiers to lose their lives in Afghanistan this year most of them in violence.
The force received a new commander on Tuesday when US General David McKiernan, who led troops in Iraq, took over the 53,000-soldier ISAF.
He told reporters in Kabul that he shared concerns voiced about his predecessor US General Dan McNeill about militant sanctuaries just across the border.
"The NATO mandate does not extend into Pakistan," he said. "I can tell you that I intend on developing a close relationship with Pakistani counterparts so we can work easily for security along the border."
Islamabad's peace talks with militants on its side of the frontier have alarmed Afghan and Western officials who say they fear an increase in violence in Afghanistan.
The Taliban were in government in Kabul between 1996 and 2001, when they imposed their harsh version of Islamic Sharia law on a population beaten down by years of war.
More than 70,000 international forces, the bulk of them under NATO command, are helping the government tackle the Taliban and other fundamentalist outfits but the unrest has increased year on year, leaving thousands dead.