Sun, Aug 13, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Four soldiers die in Afghanistan

SURGING VIOLENCE Taliban militants have stepped up attacks since NATO took over military command of the nation's often-volatile southern provinces late last month

DPA , KABUL

Three coalition soldiers were killed and two injured in a firefight with suspected Taliban militants in northeastern Afghanistan on Friday, and a Canadian soldier was killed by a suicide car bomber in the southern part of the country, coalition spokesmen said.

"The soldiers became engaged with Taliban extremists while conducting operations in the Waygal District of Nuristan Province," the US-led coalition said in a statement on late Friday night.

The statement did not identify the nationality of the soldiers or the condition of the wounded soldiers. But a majority of coalition forces serving in the east of the country are from the US.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our three brave soldiers today," Brigadier General James Terry, deputy commanding general of the coalition forces, was quoted as saying.

opposing extremists

"The soldiers killed and wounded today fought against extremists who oppose the rights of women, murder the innocent and harbor terrorists as they did during the Taliban regime," Terry said. "Our soldiers sacrificed their lives to prevent such tyranny from returning to Afghanistan. They will not be forgotten."

Taliban militants have increased their attacks on Afghan, NATO and coalition forces in Afghanistan since NATO took over the command of volatile southern provinces late last month. The daily attacks have left at least a dozen NATO soldiers dead, while scores of insurgents were also killed in the latest round of violence.

Also on Friday, a suicide car bomber killed a Canadian soldier in southern Afghanistan on Friday, and the US military said US-led and Afghan forces killed three suspected al Qaeda fighters and arrested three more in a raid.

Seven Canadian personnel have been killed in Afghanistan in the past week. Twenty-six have died since the mission began, a Canadian military spokesman said.

A bomber in a white Toyota Corolla attacked a NATO convoy on the main road linking Pakistan with the southern province of Kandahar, killing the soldier, the alliance said in a statement.

saddened

"We're definitely saddened to report it was a Canadian soldier who was killed by a suicide bomber," Lieutenant Adam Thomson said from Ottawa.

The soldier, whose name has yet to be released, was traveling with the armored convoy bound for Kandahar airfield on Friday afternoon when the bomber struck near the town of Spin Boldak, about 100km southeast of Kandahar City, Thomson said.

No other Canadian soldiers were injured, although an undetermined number of Afghan civilians were, he said.

Meanwhile, the US-led coalition raid in the eastern province of Khost, which borders Pakistan, was aimed at an al Qaeda operative linked to a series of roadside and car bombings.

"Upon arrival, the assault force received small arms fire from the targeted building," the US military statement said.

"The ground force returned fire, killing the three terrorists. The other three were detained on site without incident."

Weapons, ammunition and other ordnance were destroyed at the site, near the village of Ya Qubi. There were no casualties among the raiding party.

The latest operation comes less than two weeks after four other al Qaeda suspects were arrested in a similar raid in Khost.

Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since U.S.-led forces toppled the hard line Islamist Taliban government, allied to al Qaeda, in 2001.

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