NATO soldier among 30 said killed in Afghanistan

AFP – A NATO soldier was killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan Friday while two Afghan women and a policeman died in attacks elsewhere linked to a deepening Taliban insurgency, officials said.

Afghan officials also announced that around 26 rebel fighters were killed, six of them when they tried to abduct a policeman or one of his relatives from his home late Thursday.

A roadside bomb struck a vehicle of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in eastern Afghanistan, killing one soldier and wounding three others, an Afghan working for the alliance said.

The blast was on the outskirts of Mehtarlam about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Kabul, said an employee of the alliance’s press office for eastern Afghanistan.

“One of the soldiers was killed and three were wounded in the blast,” said the man, named only Rahmanullah.

ISAF confirmed that one of its soldiers was killed and three wounded in combat operations in the east of the country but gave few other details.

The 37-country ISAF does not release the nationalities of its casualties, leaving this to the home nation of the troops.

The latest death takes to 74 the number of foreign soldiers killed this year, most of them in hostile action.

Five US soldiers, a Briton and a Canadian military photographer were killed when a helicopter came down in the southern province of Helmand province late Wednesday. The Taliban said they shot it down.

In the southern province of Kandahar, a district chief said about 20 Taliban were killed in an operation by ISAF and Afghan forces on Thursday.

Some of the bodies were left at the scene and some dragged off by the fighters, said Zhari district chief Khairuddin.

In eastern Paktia province, men stormed a police officer’s house overnight and “tried to either take the officer or one of his family members,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

Police and army reinforcements were sent to the area and “in this conflict six enemies were killed and seven more were injured,” it said.

In the northeastern province of Kunar, two women were killed and another six people were wounded when a rocket hit a civilian house overnight, police said.

A rocket barrage was apparently aimed at an Afghan and US military base but missed, provincial police chief Abdul Jalal Jalal told AFP.

He blamed “enemies of Afghanistan,” a term often used to refer to the ultra-Islamic Taliban movement that has been waging an insurgency since being ousted from government in late 2001.

Up to 380 Afghan civilians were killed in Taliban attacks and anti-militant raids by military forces in the first four months of this year, the United Nations said Monday.

In a separate incident, insurgents attacked a police post in Nuristan province, sparking a gun battle that killed a policeman and a militant and wounded four police, provincial governor Tamim Nuristani said.

The US-led coalition announced the arrest of a Taliban sub-commander and bomb-maker in the south of the country who was “known for his terror tactics.”

It said the man, identified as Haji Salam, had also been involved in suicide attacks in the southern province of Ghazni, which has seen a spike in violence in the past week.

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