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Suicide Bomb Kills Two Afghan Soldiers


KABUL (Reuters) -- A suicide car bomb has killed two Afghan soldiers and wounded three more in the western province of Herat, the Defense Ministry said.

Violence in Afghanistan has surged over the last three years with Taliban militants launching more suicide and roadside bomb attacks in an attempt to destabilize the Western-backed Afghan government and drive foreign forces from the country.

The suicide bomber detonated his explosives next to a moving army vehicle in the Mir Awad area of Herat Province, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

As a result two soldiers were killed and three more were wounded.

Separately, U.S.-led coalition forces together with Afghan officials are investigating claims they killed civilians during an operation targeting a Taliban network in Kapisa Province, northeast of Kabul, the U.S. military said.

The issue of civilian casualties is sensitive in Afghanistan and has eroded support for international forces. President Hamid Karzai said on January 20 the deaths were a main source of instability in the country.

The U.S. military said it killed 18 militants and one Taliban commander in the January 20 operation, a claim it also says is supported by Afghan officials. But the Afghan news agency, Pajhwok, reported residents as saying 25 civilians had been killed.

"We take reports of civilian casualties very seriously," U.S. military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian said in a statement. "Our investigation into recent operations in Kapisa will weigh all inputs to determine the truth."

In another incident, Afghan soldiers killed two insurgents and detained one suspected militant during an operation in the southern province of Kandahar on January 20, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
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