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Afghan Officials: Suicide Bomber Kills 7 in Helmand

By VOA News
20 June 2008

Afghan officials say a suicide bomber has killed at least six civilians and one soldier serving with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan in the southern province of Helmand.

The provincial police chief, Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, says the bomber targeted a convoy of U.S.-led coalition troops Friday as they passed through a crowded market in the town of Gereshk. An Afghan interpreter and at least two children were among those killed. The dead soldier's nationality was not released.

Coalition forces say two other soldiers were killed during operations in Helmand on Thursday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and the coalition did not reveal the victims' nationalities.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Kandahar province, hundreds of families were returning home Friday after Afghan and NATO forces began wrapping up an offensive against Taliban insurgents.

An Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, said at least 56 militants were killed in the operation that began Wednesday in Arghandab district. At least two Afghan soldiers were also killed.

NATO and Afghan forces were deployed to Kandahar province after local officials said hundreds of Taliban took over several communities earlier this week.

A Taliban spokesman said the fighters wanted to take over Arghandab to launch attacks on the strategic city of Kandahar.

NATO spokesman Brigadier General Carlos Branco says Afghan and NATO forces did not encounter any large formation of militants in the area and only minor incidents occurred.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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