Roadside bomb kills 9

2011-10-02 14:06

Gardez - A roadside bomb has ripped through an Afghan army vehicle in southeast Afghanistan, killing nine soldiers and wounding four others, an official said on Sunday.

The blast hit a vehicle out on patrol in Paktiya province on Saturday, said provincial spokesperson Rohullah Samoon, blaming the attack on the Taliban.

"The incident happened yesterday afternoon in the Sahak area of Zurmat district," he told AFP. "It was a roadside bomb that blew up the Afghan army vehicle and martyred nine soldiers and wounded four."

The wounded soldiers were taken to a nearby hospital, he said, adding that their injuries were not life-threatening.

The Taliban are leading a 10-year insurgency in Afghanistan which frequently targets Afghan soldiers and police. The insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on their website.

The Afghan army is currently 170 000-strong and is being built up rapidly ahead of the withdrawal of all foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Also on Saturday in Paktiya, at least 20 Taliban militants were killed in a joint operation between Afghan and foreign forces, provincial police chief General Sardar Mohammad Zazi said.

"The dead bodies are still on the battle ground, they have not been identified yet," he said.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) announced on Saturday that it had captured a senior commander of the Taliban-allied Haqqani network in Paktiya on Tuesday.

Haji Mali Khan was described as an uncle of its de facto leader Sirajuddin Haqqani and "the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan."

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