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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 09:31 GMT
Afghan attack targets Nato troops
Dutch helicopter with Nato forces in Afghanistan
Nato forces have been largely kept out of combat
Three Italian peacekeepers have been slightly injured in an apparent suicide attack in the western Afghan city of Herat, police and Nato officials say.

The three members of the Nato-led peacekeeping force were travelling into Herat from the airport when a car drew up alongside their vehicle and blew up.

Officials say at least one man who was in the car died.

A man claiming to be a spokesman for the ousted Taleban movement said its members had carried out the attack.

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Nato officials said the three Italians had been injured by flying glass in the blast.

"There was a vehicle that pulled up alongside and blew up next to one of our vehicles," International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) spokesman Andy Elmes told AFP news agency.

"Three Italian soldiers working with Isaf have been lightly injured."

Reports say there were civilians in the area at the time, but it is not known if there are casualties.

The attack is the latest in a string of recent suicide attacks targeting Nato peace-keeping forces in Kabul and Kandahar.

Analysts say it is a deliberate strategic move by the Taleban to try to frighten off European countries from becoming part of future Nato forces in Afghanistan.

More troops

Earlier this month, Nato foreign ministers endorsed a plan to expand the alliance's role in Afghanistan, making it the biggest operation outside Europe.

It will involve deploying 6,000 more troops in the south of the country, a third of them expected to be British.

The south and east have been the scene of intense violence which has this year left more than 1,400 dead in Afghanistan, the deadliest year since US-led forces ousted the Taleban in 2001.


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