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Taliban attack road crew; several dead

By Amir Shah and Mirwais Khan
Associated Press / August 20, 2010

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban fighters attacked a road construction crew yesterday in southern Afghanistan and several people were killed or wounded, officials and witnesses said.

Also yesterday, US Command said an American service member was killed the day before in fighting in the south, where Afghan and international forces were pushing into areas long held by Taliban insurgents. The death brought to at least 17 the number of US troops killed in Afghanistan this month. Sixty-six American troops died in July — the deadliest month for US forces in the nearly 9-year-old war.

The attack on the road crew occurred in the Sangin district of Helmand Province, according to a company employee, Salam Khan Durrani.

He said several people had been killed or wounded, but he had no precise figures because fighting was still raging.

Dawood Ahmadi, provincial spokesman, said the crew and its security guards called for help from Afghan security forces but he had no other details.

The crew was working on the main road from Sangin to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. Sangin, has been the scene of bloody fighting between the Taliban and coalition forces.

In neighboring Kandahar Province, eight NATO service members were injured when their helicopter made a hard landing during a joint Afghan and coalition operation. According to initial reports, the aircraft was not taking enemy fire. An investigation is underway.

In the east, two Afghan civilians were killed and 14 wounded yesterday when a fuel truck exploded in the Bati Kot district of Nangarhar Province, the coalition said. The blast also destroyed three civilian vehicles and caused damage to shops nearby. The event was being investigated, but initial reports indicated an explosive device was the cause, NATO said.

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