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2 suicide bomb attacks kill soldier, policemen, children



Published: Fri, October 20, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The country is facing the worst violence since the Taliban was ousted.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Suicide bombings in the south and east killed a British soldier, two children and a policeman Thursday, as President Hamid Karzai called on NATO forces to use caution during military operations a day after 20 civilians died.

One of the suicide attacks took place in the southern town of Lashkar Gah, where a bomber struck a British jeep, engulfing it in flames.

Two British soldiers were wounded, one of whom later died, said Britain's Ministry of Defense. The explosion also killed a boy and a girl, both under the age of 8, and wounded seven civilians, said Ghulam Muhiddin, spokesman for the governor of Helmand province.

In eastern Khost province, a suicide bomber hurled himself in front of a police car, killing a policeman and wounding four others, said Gen. Mohammad Ayub, the provincial police chief.

Deadliest violence

Afghanistan this year has faced the deadliest spate of violence since the ouster of the Taliban regime by U.S.-led forces five years ago. Militants increasingly have resorted to suicide and roadside bombs, particularly in the south and east of the country near Pakistan.

Karzai said that though Afghanistan is "committed to the fight against terrorism," NATO forces need to take precautions during military operations to protect civilians.

He noted that nine civilians were killed and 11 wounded during a battle Wednesday in the town of Ashogho in Kandahar province. He also said 11 civilians were killed during a fight in Tajikan village in Helmand province that day.

"I have mentioned this several times in the past that every effort should be made to ensure the safety of civilians and that inflicting harm to them is not acceptable to us," the president said in a statement. "Once again, I urge NATO forces to take maximum caution during their military operations to avoid harming civilians."

Forces needed

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said additional NATO forces are needed in Afghanistan to supplement the 31,000 alliance forces currently in the country, and that the NATO mission will succeed only if it can help the Afghan government improve ordinary people's lives.

De Hoop Scheffer told BBC radio that suicide attacks show that the Taliban can be only "spoilers" in the process of nation building.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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