Blast kills French soldier in Afghanistan
By AMIR SHAH,Associated Press Writer AP - 2 hours 46 minutes ago
KABUL, Afghanistan - A blast killed a French soldier walking with other troops from their Afghan base to a firing range, while a grenade attack on a wedding party killed eight people, officials said Saturday.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office called the bomb attack a "deadly trap" laid against the soldiers.
But a French military spokesman told The Associated Press that it was unclear if the mine that exploded Saturday was planted by insurgents fighting the Western-backed government. Afghanistan remains littered with old mines from decades of fighting.
Cmdr. Christophe Prazuck, the spokesman, said in Paris that one soldier was also wounded in the blast. France has 2,700 troops in a NATO mission and a U.S.-led operation in Afghanistan plus another 600 in support roles across the region.
In Parwan province, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the Afghan capital of Kabul, assailants threw three grenades at a wedding party late Friday, said Gov. Abdul Jabar Taqwa. Eight people were killed and 62 were wounded, including the groom, he said.
It was not clear who carried out the attack, Taqwa said. Family feuds often end in violence in Afghanistan, and the Taliban has little presence in Parwan province.
In the eastern province of Khost, at least 17 people were wounded _ 16 civilians and a private security worker _ when a bomb exploded near a vegetable market, said Taher Khan Sabari, deputy governor of Khost province.
Yaqoob Khan, the province's deputy police chief, said the bomb exploded on a road just outside the market and appeared to have targeted private security forces in a nearby vehicle.
The attack came a day after Afghan and coalition forces killed a civilian in the same province.
U.S. forces spokesman Col. Greg Julian said the troops fired warning shots toward a vehicle that was "driving erratically" and did not respond to their signals.
"We regret this tragic loss of life and express our condolences to the individual's family," Julian said in a statement.
Meanwhile, officials in eastern Kunar province said they found the body of a district administrative chief three and a half months after he was kidnapped by Taliban insurgents. The kidnappers had demanded money and the release of 50 Taliban prisoners from government jails, said deputy police chief Abdul Sabor Allayer.
The demands were not met, and Allayer said the official was found fatally shot on Saturday.
Associated Press writer Heidi Vogt contributed to this report.
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