KABUL, Afghanistan – A bomb killed two American soldiers and wounded three others in southern Afghanistan (search), the U.S. military said Saturday, while a separate attack in an eastern Afghan province killed at least three children and a policeman on the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (search).
The attack on the soldiers happened Thursday in Uruzgan province, northwest of Deh Rawood, where a U.S. military base is located. Maj. Mark McCann, a U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, said in a brief statement that an improvised explosive device — a homemade bomb — was to blame.
Another U.S. official confirmed the casualties were American soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division.
About 18,000 U.S. soldiers make up the vast majority of the coalition forces hunting Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in southern and eastern Afghanistan.
Interim President Hamid Karzai (search) strongly condemned the truck assault Friday in the Asmar area of Kunar province, about 120 miles east of Kabul, saying it was an atrocity committed by "enemies of Islam."
His office said in a statement that unidentified attackers set a truck on fire, drawing a crowd, and then detonated a remote-controlled bomb, killing at least three children and a policeman.
Kunar Gov. Syed Fazel Akbar, however, said five people had died. He said the truck had been carrying supplies to a U.S. military base.
"The terrorists that perpetrated this attack showed once more their barbarous, inhuman and un-Islamic face by the killing of innocent civilians, especially children," Karzai said in the statement.
"Clearly, only the enemies of Islam could commit such an atrocity on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan."
Afghanistan had a public holiday Friday for the start of Ramadan, when Muslims observe a dawn-to-dusk fast.
The attacks came a week after millions of Afghans voted in the country's first direct presidential election, which passed off largely peacefully despite a threat of attacks by Taliban-led rebels active in the east and south of the country.
Voting resumed Saturday after being suspended for a day because of Ramadan. With just one percent of the vote counted so far, Karzai surged to the lead with 70 percent.
Akbar said the U.S.-led coalition had hired the truck to carry supplies to a military base when it was stopped by "enemy" fighters and set on fire 20 miles north of Asadabad, the provincial capital.
He said the driver fled and reported the incident to authorities. When police arrived two hours later at the scene, a mine exploded near their vehicle, killing a police officer and four bystanders who had gathered around the wreckage of the truck. The Asmar district police chief was also wounded in the blast, he said.
Akbar had no details about the four dead civilians, including their ages, and what supplies the truck was carrying.
Some 18,000 U.S. forces are deployed in Afghanistan.