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SLUG: 2-325670 Afghanistan/Fighting (L)
HEADLINE: US Warplanes Bomb Suspected Taleban Hideout
INTRO: A bomb attack on a United Nations convoy in Afghanistan has killed six local security personnel. The violence comes as clashes between U.S.-led forces and suspected militants in southern parts of the country have left dozens of people dead, about half of them guerrillas. Ayaz Gul reports from neighboring Pakistan.
TEXT: A United Nations spokesman in Kabul, Adrian Edwards, speaking by telephone, says a roadside bomb went off near a convoy of around 20 vehicles in the southeastern province of Paktika on Saturday, killing and injuring several security personnel.
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"The information we have at this time is that four Afghan police and two Afghan soldiers who were in a vehicle in the convoy were killed."
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Mr. Edwards says there are no foreigners among the causalities.
The attack comes as Afghan military officials in the southern province of Uruzgan claim to have killed more than a dozen fighters linked to the now-ousted Taleban regime in clashes that erupted Friday night.
Meanwhile, hundreds of U.S and Afghan forces are still searching mountains in the northeastern province of Kunar for a small team of American soldiers missing since Tuesday, when Taleban insurgents shot down a U.S military helicopter trying to rescue them. All 16 U.S servicemen on board were killed and U.S. military officials say the remains of the troops were flown to the United
States on Friday night.
A U.S spokeswoman in Afghanistan, (Technical) Sergant Marina Evans, says coalition forces are continuing "Operation Redwing" in the area to hunt down suspected Taleban and al-Qaida militants. She says U.S warplanes also carried out strikes against a suspected rebel target Friday evening, but gave no other details.
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Yesterday (Friday), at approximately 5:30 p.m. local (time), U.S forces carried out an air strike on a target in support of Operation Redwing. The battle damage assessment is going on right now."
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She refused to comment on the search for the missing U.S soldiers in Kunar province, saying that information would have to come from the U.S special Operations Command in the United States.
The increased violence in Afghanistan has raised security concerns for the parliamentary elections to be held in September. But U.N. and Afghan organizers say preparations remain on track for the polls to be held on time.
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