Bomb kills French soldier in Afghanistan
By AMIR SHAH,Associated Press Writer AP - 2 hours 52 minutes ago
KABUL, Afghanistan - A bomb killed a French soldier Saturday as a group of troops was walking from their base to a firing range near the Afghan capital. A separate explosion near a vegetable market killed two people, officials said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office called the bomb a "deadly trap" laid against the French patrol.
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 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.
Elsewhere Friday, Afghan and coalition troops killed four militants in western Farah province during a raid on a compound associated with a Taliban commander, U.S. forces said in a statement.
It said local residents confirmed that those who died in the ensuing clash were Taliban militants.
Separately, U.S. forces said coalition troops detained three suspected militants during a search of a compound connected to a local Taliban commander in Ghazni province on Friday.
It followed a clash Thursday near a main road in southern Helmand province in which Afghan and coalition troops were attacked while on patrol and returned fire, killing 10 militants, U.S. forces said in a statement.
Associated Press writer Heidi Vogt contributed to this report.
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