Bodies of Four Canadian Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Flown Home

The bodies of four Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan's south were being flown home Sunday, as insurgents killed two police in the west, officials said.

Four suspected Taliban used rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns in the attack in Murghab district of the western Badghis province before fleeing, said provincial deputy police chief Abdull Amid.

The bodies of the four Canadians were put on a military flight back to Canada on Saturday, two days after they were killed in the volatile southern Kandahar province, said Maj. Scott Lundy, a NATO spokesman.

The deaths were Canada's worst loss since April 22, when four of its soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in the same province.

NATO-led troops, who took over control of security for southern Afghanistan from the U.S.-led coalition last Monday, have suffered eight fatalities since then. Five were Canadians.

The militants have stepped up their attacks against Afghan and NATO-led forces in recent months, in the worst upsurge of violence in the country since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban regime for hosting Osama bin Laden.

Before NATO took charge of security in the south, U.S.-led troops conducted a six-week offensive aimed at expanding the reach of the Kabul government into the region.

More than 1,100 suspected Taliban militants were killed, wounded or captured during the operation, the coalition said in a statement Friday.

On Saturday, a roadside bomb killed two policemen and wounded eight who were crammed into a vehicle in Kandahar province, said Dawood Ahmadi, the Kandahar governor's spokesman. He blamed Taliban militants for the blast.

Also Saturday, police in nearby Ghazni province arrested 15 suspected Taliban militants after a raid on a farmer's field the night before left four insurgents and one Afghan intelligence officer dead, said provincial police chief Gen. Tafseer Khan.

In the eastern Paktia province, police killed a gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform, part of a group attacking a convoy bound for a U.S. military base, said provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Anan Roufi.

Meanwhile, floods in Ghazni left thousands homeless and killed three people, as local authorities pleaded for help.

The floods, caused by heavy rain late Friday, destroyed 1,600 houses and submerged hectares (acres) of farmland, said Abdul Ali Fakuri, a spokesman for Ghazni's governor.