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Five Civilians, Two Soldiers Killed In Afghan Incidents


(RFE/RL) -- A suicide car bombing in a heavily guarded area of the Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, has killed at least four Afghan civilians and one U.S. soldier.

A separate suicide bomber attacked a convoy of NATO and Afghan police in eastern Afghanistan, killing one civilian, while another U.S. soldier was killed when a helicopter crash-landed in eastern Afghanistan.

The Kabul bomber struck on a road lined with concrete blast barriers that runs between the German Embassy and Camp Eggers, the headquarters of a U.S. unit that trains the Afghan army and police.

A tanker and several cars were burning at the scene as the injured were taken away.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said four Afghan civilians died and about 20 were injured in the blast in the central Wazir Akbar Khan district.

The U.S. military said one U.S. soldier died from his wounds. Army spokesman Colonel Jerry O'Hara said the blast also wounded six U.S. forces and one American civilian.

An unidentified spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin said employees at the embassy were among the injured. He said windows inside the German compound shattered in the explosion.

'Act Of Barbarity'

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned the attack as a "cowardly act of barbarity," while Afghan President Hamid Karzai said such "inhumane acts" will only increase people's "hatred" for the terrorists.

In the second suicide attack, a bomber in a minivan charged a convoy of NATO troops and Afghan police in eastern Nangarhar Province.

Ghafor Khan, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, said the explosion in Chaparhar district killed one civilian and wounded six other people, including three police officers.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks and said German military personnel in Kabul and other foreign troops in the east were the targets.

Taliban militants have bombed Afghan government and foreign interests in Kabul in the past. In November, four Afghans died in a blast outside the U.S. Embassy.

The Taliban's influence has spread from their traditional heartlands in the south and east to areas closer to the capital. With increased police checkpoints throughout the capital, however, there were fewer attacks inside Kabul in 2008 than in the previous year.

Germany has 3,200 troops in Afghanistan, mainly in the country's north.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to make Afghanistan a foreign policy priority after he comes to office on Tuesday and plans to send up to 30,000 extra troops this year.

With agency reports