7 Afghan Soldiers Killed in Roadside Blast in Eastern Afghanistan

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A roadside bomb attack on an Afghan military convoy in eastern Afghanistan left seven soldiers dead Wednesday, a day after militants ambushed a police car in the west, killing four officers, officials said.

The soldiers were part of a 10-vehicle convoy traveling in the Wazekha area, in Paktika province, near the border with Pakistan, when a remotely controlled bomb exploded under one of their vehicles, said Gen. Murad Ali, Afghan National Army's deputy commander for the southern regions.

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The blast left seven soldiers dead and one wounded, Ali said.

The blast occurred a day after a police vehicle was ambushed in Guzara district in Herat province on Tuesday evening, said Noor Khan Nekzad, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. Four officers were killed and two others wounded in that attack.

Afghan security forces are taking a more prominent role in battling resurgent Taliban guerrillas. But unlike the heavily armed NATO and U.S. troops in Afghanistan they often fight beside, local forces have few armored vehicles to protect them from roadside bombs and suicide attacks.

Police in Kabul said they had foiled such an attack on Wednesday, when they seized a man with explosives strapped to his body, said Zalmay Khan, Kabul province's deputy police chief.

Officers were able to pounce on the man before he could detonate the charge, Khan said.

Afghan and international forces, meanwhile, clashed with Taliban insurgents in two separate gun battles in the south and west on Monday, leaving 13 suspected militants dead and four other people wounded.

Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces launched an overnight operation late Monday in Bakwa district in western Farah province, killing two suspected militants and wounding two, said a spokesman for provincial police chief, Baryalai Khan. Two police were wounded, and eight suspected militants arrested.

In the volatile southern province of Zabul, Afghan army and NATO troops surrounded Taliban militants Monday evening and told them to surrender, said regional Afghan army commander Gen. Rahmetullah Raufi.

The Taliban opened fire, and the ensuing battle left 11 Taliban dead, but there were no casualties among Afghan or NATO troops, Raufi said.

Meanwhile in the relatively calm north, a bomb exploded outside the Sari Pul provincial governor's home Tuesday morning, but no one was injured, said the governor, Eqbal Munib. He said it was the third bomb targeting him in the past year.

Taliban-led militants have stepped up attacks in recent weeks, but NATO forces claim to have blunted a vaunted rebel "spring offensive" with a series of military operations aimed at consolidating the shaky grip of President Hamid Karzai's government.