KABUL, Afghanistan – A bomb attack Friday against a convoy of French troops killed one soldier and injured many Afghans near the blast, while heavy fighting in southern Afghanistan killed about 75 Taliban fighters and six civilians, officials said.
The attack in western Kabul blew the windows out of a civilian bus and set at least one vehicle on fire. At least six civilians were in serious condition, and many others had lesser injuries, said Zormai Rasa, the local police chief.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force confirmed that one French soldier was killed in the blast, but a spokesman said he had no other information.
Heavy fighting in the south, meanwhile, killed around 75 Taliban militants during the last 48 hours, the U.S.-led coalition said. Six civilians were also killed after Taliban fighters sought shelter in their homes, which were then targeted by airstrikes, an Afghan official said.
Airstrikes were called in against "anti-coalition militants" in the Garmsir district of Helmand province early Friday, killing about 40 fighters, the coalition said. Soldiers found more than 20 rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and land mines in the militants' compound, the coalition said.
The six civilians, including women and children, died in a separate battle in Helmand province's Gereshk region on Wednesday after Taliban fighters fled fighting with NATO forces and sought shelter in the civilian homes, said Gereshk district chief Abdul Manaf Khan.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force said there were "a number" of civilian casualties caused by the fighting. ISAF said Taliban fighters attacked its forces from a housing compound and that an airstrike targeted the compound. ISAF said it had been unaware that civilians were in the area.
In another newly reported battle, more than three dozen Taliban fighters were reported killed Wednesday in Uruzgan province, the coalition said.
The fighting began when Afghan and coalition troops spotted a dozen insurgents planting roadside bombs in Uruzgan province, sparking a 14-hour battle that included airstrikes against Taliban fighters taking cover in village homes.