Nine killed in Afghan bombing: District chief

Seven policemen and a foreign soldier were among nine people killed in an improvised explosive device attack in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, a local official said on Sunday.

"Last night there was an IED attack," Shah Mohammad, local administration chief of Arghandab district, said. "Four Afghan local police and three national police, one ISAF soldier and one Afghan interpreter were killed."

Two commanders were among the local police victims, he added, and another two policemen were injured.

Separately, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said that one service member had died "following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan on Saturday".

A spokesman declined to give further details or confirm Afghan casualties.

But a Western security source confirmed that both were referring to the same incident.

Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and remains a stronghold of the militants who have been fighting the government of President Hamid Karzai and its Western allies since being ousted from power a decade ago.

More than 2,900 foreign soldiers have been killed so far, according to a tally by the icasualties.org website.

Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are the insurgents' preferred weapon in the conflict.

The bombs were the single largest killer of Afghan civilians last year, a UN report said last month, which also revealed that insurgents had increased their use of bombs that could be detonated even by children stepping on them.

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