Suicide bomber, dozens of Taliban killed in Afghanistan (Lead)

August 30th, 2008 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, Aug 30 (DPA) A suicide bomber attacked a convoy of international troops in Kabul, killing only himself, while dozens of Taliban militants were killed in clashes with Afghan and international forces elsewhere, officials said Saturday.A bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near a convoy of international forces in Pajhman, on the western outskirts of Kabul Saturday morning, killing himself but causing no casualties among the NATO soldiers, provincial police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said.

The bomber exploded his vehicle “before he was close enough to the convoy, and that is why there were no casualties among the soldiers,” he said.

Kabul has seen a spate of attacks by Taliban militants, who lost power in late 2001 in a US-led military invasion and have since waged a bloody insurgency against the Afghan government and some 70,000 foreign forces stationed in the country.

Meanwhile, 13 Taliban militants were killed in fighting with Afghan and international forces in Nawa district in southern Helmand province Friday, provincial police chief Mohammad Hussain Andewal said Saturday.

Eight other militants were killed in a separate fight in Gerishk district of the province Friday evening, Andewal said, adding the militants were killed after they attacked a police post in the area.

In the south-western province of Farah a convoy carrying supplies for US military forces was attacked by militants Saturday morning, sparking a battle that left eight Taliban militants dead, said Abdul Raouf Ahmadi, police spokesman in western zone.

He said the militants were killed after Afghan and the US military rushed to the scene in Farahrud district and engaged the attackers. Two fuel tankers were burned and an Afghan private security guard was wounded.

In neighbouring Badghis province, Taliban attacked a convoy of NATO-led troops and Afghan police, but the assault was repelled by the joint forces, said Mohammad Ashraff Nasiri, the provincial governor.

He said five militants were killed in the two-hour battle, but no Afghan or NATO forces were hurt during the firefight.

US-led coalition forces also said Saturday that their forces killed “several militants” in Nijrab district of northeastern province of Kapisa Friday.

Combined forces attempted to search a compound, targeting a militant, who was involved in weapon smuggling to the insurgents and also conducting roadside attacks against the military forces in the area, US military said in a statement.

The militants inside the compound attacked the combined forces with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenade, the statement said, adding that the “coalition force responded with precision airstrikes, killing several militants.”

Owing to the remoteness of the areas, it was difficult to verify the claimed deaths of insurgents by the Afghan and coalition forces independently.

More than 3,500 people - mostly insurgents - have been killed in violence in Afghanistan so far this year, according to figures provided by Afghan and foreign military sources.

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