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Policemen killed in Afghan blast

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The aftermath of the car bomb in Lashkar Gar

A suicide bomber has killed 11 people, including nine police officers, and wounded many others in an attack in Helmand province, officials say.

The bomber, wearing a police uniform, blew himself up near a police building in provincial capital Lashkar Gah.

Another policeman was killed in a similar attack in the south-western province of Farah, officials said.

On Sunday, two British soldiers and four US troops died in separate attacks in Helmand and Nangarhar provinces.

Southern Afghanistan has been the centre of a Taleban-led insurgency since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Bloody winter

Policemen were exercising in the yard at the time of the blast in Lashkar Gah, which injured a further 24 people, officials said.

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This winter has proved the bloodiest for international troops since the military operations began, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul.

More than 60 service personnel have been killed since the start of the year - the majority of casualties caused by improvised explosive devices.

In response to the worsening security situation, the US is set to send thousands of additional forces.

Most of these troops will be deployed in the south and east of the country, where the Taleban-led insurgency is at its strongest, says our correspondent.

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