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Militants attack NATO camp in Afghanistan; seven killed

By Sayed Salahuddin,

KABUL — Under the cover of darkness and armed with heavy weapons, a group of Taliban fighters, including suicide bombers, launched an assault Tuesday on a NATO camp in southern Afghanistan.

The attack on the outskirts of Kandahar city was carried out before dawn by seven assailants who were killed by coalition forces after a gunbattle lasting 15 minutes, according to Afghan and coalition officials.

There was no immediate report of any deaths among the NATO soldiers, but some working at the camp, including a foreign contractor, were wounded in the attack, an Afghan official said. The strike caused some damages to the facilities inside the camp, he added.

Hours later, another group of Taliban fighters, dressed in police uniforms, fired on a joint NATO-Afghan police post in an area of Kandahar city. Four attackers and three police officers died in the exchange of fire, according Ahmad Javid Faisal, a spokesman for Kandahar’s governor.

Police foiled a separate Taliban attack on another police post, resulting in the deaths of two assailants, he said by phone. A Taliban spokesman only confirmed the attack on the NATO camp and the joint post, putting the losses of foreign and Afghan forces to more than 20.

Kandahar used to be the main seat of power for the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s before its ouster in late 2001. Since then, the province has been the scene of some of the worst violence.

The latest strikes came hours after three men in Afghan police uniforms killed an alliance soldier in another part of Kandahar on Monday, latest in a spate of attacks by “rogue” Afghan forces. A senior Afghan police officer said the victim was an American serviceman.

NATO said a search has been launched to arrest the three men. The Taliban spokesman said they had joined the Islamist movement .

Separately, eight Afghan civilians lost their lives when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in neighboring Helmand province, the office for Helmand’s governor said.

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