Nine killed in combat in Afghanistan


Kabul : Nine people — a NATO soldier, two Afghan police personnel, five Taliban militants and a civilian — were killed in a series of clashes in southern and eastern Afghanistan, officials said Sunday.

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A roadside bomb targeting Kandahar city’s mayor killed one bystander and wounded six other civilians Sunday morning, Abdul Khaliq, a senior police official in the province, said.

The bomb in a push-barrow damaged the mayor’s vehicle, but he escaped unharmed.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the heart of Kandahar city, capital of the province of the same name. Taliban militants rely heavily on use of roadside bombings.

One foreign soldier of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan Saturday, an ISAF statement said. It did not disclose the nationality of the soldier.

Most of the troops stationed in eastern region of the country are from the US and France. ISAF has more than 50,000 forces deployed from 41 nations to the war-torn Afghanistan.

US-led coalition forces said they killed five suspected Taliban insurgents in an operation in Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province Sunday morning.

A statement said troops killed the militants after they fired at the joint forces who were approaching their compound. Four suspects were also detained.

Separately, two Afghan police forces were killed Saturday night when the Taliban militants attacked their unit in Nawa district of southern Helmand province, Assadullah Sherzad, the provincial police chief, said.

The poorly trained and equipped Afghan forces bear the brunt of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. More than 2,300 police forces were killed in the past two years.

Seven years from the ouster of their regime, Taliban militants continue to grow stronger and extend their writ to wider swathes of the country.

More than 70,000 foreign soldiers and around 160,000 indigenous troops are battling the Taliban, who are aiming to topple the Western-backed Afghan government and expel its foreign patrons.