Eight US soldiers among 25 killed in Afghanistan

July 14th, 2010 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Kabul, July 14 (DPA) Eight US soldiers died in attacks in southern Afghanistan while 14 civilians and three security forces were killed elsewhere in the country, officials said Wednesday.
The NATO-led led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had earlier confirmed the soldiers’ deaths, but did not reveal their nationalities.

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Todd Breasseale, a US military spokesman in Kabul later said that the eight dead soldiers were Americans.

Four of the soldiers were killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, while another soldier died as a result of small arms fire in a separate incident, an ISAF statement said.

A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-filled vehicle at the gate of the police headquarters in Kandahar city, the capital of the province of the same name Tuesday night, NATO said in a separate statement.

Several militants then stormed the base, sparking a battle with Afghan police and foreign troops, it said.

The troops were able to secure the compound “and successfully repelled the attack”, the statement said, adding: “Three ISAF service members and five civilian workers were killed as a result of the attack.”

The nationalities of the five civilians remained unclear.

One police officer was also killed and three others were injured in the attack, said Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousfi Ahmadi said five of their fighters, equipped with automatic rifles and suicide vests attacked the base, killing 40 Afghan and foreign troops.

Two militants were killed by their suicide bombs while three others fled the area, Ahmadi said in a statement.

Taliban often exaggerate the number of casualties they inflict.

The base is located on the western outskirts of Kandahar, the country’s second city. Afghan forces have recently erected nearly a dozen checkpoints around the city to improve security.

Wednesday’s casualties took to at least 365 the overall number of foreign troops killed in the Afghan war so far this year.

Meanwhile, nine civilians were killed and three others were injured in a roadside bombing in Helmand’s Marjah district Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said.

Two private security guards were killed and two were injured in another roadside bombing in the Yousif Khel district of the southeastern province of Paktika, the ministry added.

This year has been the deadliest for Afghan civilians since the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001. An Afghan rights group said Monday that 1,074 Afghan civilians were killed in the conflict in the first half of this year with Taliban militants responsible for more than 60 percent of the deaths.

Officials in Helmand also said the manhunt for a “rogue” Afghan soldier, who killed three British soldiers and injured four others Tuesday, was ongoing.

Ahamdi, the Taliban spokesman, said Wednesday that the soldier was welcomed by the Taliban fighters in their base in Helmand and then transported to a “safe location”.

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