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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 July 2006, 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK
Afghan suicide blasts kill eight
Canadian soldier in Afghanistan (June 2006)
Canadians are part of the US-led coalition
Two Canadian soldiers and six Afghan civilians have died in a double attack by suicide bombers in the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.

The soldiers died, and eight others were hurt, when a car laden with explosives rammed into their convoy.

Soon afterwards near the scene, a second bomber killed six Afghans.

Earlier, in the neighbouring province of Helmand, Afghan soldiers and US-led forces killed 13 suspected Taleban fighters, officials said.

In the Kandahar blasts, 19 Afghan civilians were also injured. Both bombers died in the attacks.

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A man who claimed to be a spokesman for the Taleban told reporters by telephone that the movement was behind the attack.

He threatened more suicide attacks and ambushes against the US-led coalition and Afghan forces.

Helicopter gunships

In Helmand, some 15 Taleban fighters were also injured in fighting with ground forces backed by helicopter gunships, officials said.

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The fighting took place in the Garmser district in Helmand - one of two Taleban-held areas which the coalition said it had retaken earlier this week.

Saturday's violence came a day after the most senior British military commander in Afghanistan said the situation in the country was "close to anarchy", with feuding foreign agencies and unethical private security companies compounding problems caused by local corruption.

Lt Gen David Richards, head of Nato's international security force in Afghanistan, warned that coalition troops lacked necessary equipment.

They were "running out of time" to meet the expectations of the Afghan people, he was quoted as saying by the Guardian newspaper.

Nato role

About 10,000 US-led troops are fighting the Taleban and their allies. Hundreds of people have been killed this year.

Al-Qaeda and Taleban militants have mounted a series of attacks in Afghanistan in recent months.

Most of the violence has been in the south and east, in provinces bordering Pakistan.

Nato is due to take over operations from the Americans in southern Afghanistan later this year, and is expected to deploy up to 21,000 soldiers there.




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Aftermath of the suicide bomb attacks



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