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Afghan Suicide Attack Kills Three Foreign Soldiers

KABUL (Reuters) -- Three soldiers fighting with NATO-led forces and three civilians have been killed by a suicide car-bomb attack on a military convoy in east Afghanistan, Afghan officials and a spokesman for the alliance said.

One foreign soldier and two civilians were also injured when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into the convoy in the northern Sayat district of Kapisa Province, a spokesman for the provincial governor and the Interior Ministry said.

A spokesman for fugitive pro-Taliban insurgency leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who rarely claims responsibility for suicide attacks, said his Hizb-e Islami group had planned the attack.

Waliullah, who uses only one name, also said that the foreign commander of the provincial reconstruction team in Kapisa Province was among the dead.

NATO-led forces declined to comment on his statement, which could not be independently verified.

The nationality of the dead soldiers has not yet been released. Troops deployed in Kapisa Province are mainly U.S. and French, working under NATO command.

Violence in Afghanistan is expected to spike in the coming months as some 21,000 additional U.S. forces are deployed to reinforce NATO-led troops in the south and east of the country, the front line of the fight against Taliban-led insurgents.

Despite the increasing numbers of foreign troops, violence has risen to its highest levels in recent months since the Taliban were ousted after a U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Five Taliban fighters were killed in an overnight air strike by foreign forces in Ghazni Province, southwest of Kabul, the provincial police chief said.

And on May 25, Afghan police and U.S. forces killed eight militants in Oruzgan Province in southern Afghanistan, U.S. forces said.

Another three insurgents were killed when a bomb they were planting exploded in southeastern Paktika Province, the Afghan National Security Directorate said.