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Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

US suffers losses in Afghanistan

The Taleban commander in Wardak
The Taleban say they control much of Wardak province

A US helicopter has been shot down in central Afghanistan while two US soldiers have reportedly been killed in a suicide attack in the north.

The 10-member crew of the helicopter escaped unhurt after it came under small arms fire in Wardak province, a US military spokesman said.

The Taleban have grown increasingly daring in Wardak in recent months.

The US troops died in Baghlan province when a man dressed as a policeman blew himself up, officials say.

It is not clear if he was a Taleban fighter disguised as a policeman or he was a genuine policeman.

Afghan officials in Baghlan say the two US soldiers were killed when they were taking part in a meeting in a police station in Pul-e-Khumri, the main town in the province.

Some reports say the suicide attack also killed an Afghan policeman and a child working outside the building. The Taleban say they carried out the attack.

'Exchanged fire'

In Wardak, US-led coalition troops have been trying to get to the scene of the helicopter attack to recover the aircraft.

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"The helicopter crew exchanged fire with the enemy before the damage brought the helicopter down," the Associated Press news agency reported US military spokesman Lt Cmdr Walter Matthew as saying.

The crew were all successfully evacuated out of the area, he added.

Local officials say at least two Taleban fighters died in the shooting.

The Taleban have been operating openly in daylight in Wardak province, which is close to the capital, Kabul.

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