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Afghan violence leaves 24 including Canadian soldier dead    2007-12-31 08:05:24    

A combination of 22 policemen and soldiers including one from Canada were killed in various attacks in Afghanistan while two Afghan soldiers died in a road accident, officials said Monday.
Kabul (dpa) - A combination of 22 policemen and soldiers including one from Canada were killed in various attacks in Afghanistan while two Afghan soldiers died in a road accident, officials said Monday.

A total of 16 policemen were killed during an attack on their checkpoint by Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The attack occurred in the Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province on Saturday, Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said, adding that a search has been launched to recover the bodies of the slain policemen.

The former ruling Islamic extremist Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on their website.

The group has carried out several attacks in the past on the checkpoint, which is situated on the main National Highway 1.

In separate incidents, seven Afghan troops and one Canadian soldier were killed in three roadside bombings and a traffic accident in southern and eastern Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said one of its soldiers died Sunday when a roadside bomb blew up a military vehicle on patrol in southern Afghanistan.

The sole fatality was a Canadian soldier Jonathan Dion, 27, the Canadian Defence Ministry said, adding that four other Canadian soldiers were injured in the incident, which took place 20 kilometres west of Kandahar city, capital of Kandahar province.

The injured soldiers were taken to hospital by helicopter and were in stable condition, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, an Afghan National Army soldier was killed Monday in a roadside explosion in Gardez, the capital of the eastern province of Paktia, the Afghan Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Four other Afghan soldiers were killed and two were wounded in a similar incident that occurred Sunday in the southern province of Uruzgan, the statement said, adding that two more Afghan troops were killed and an equal number wounded in a traffic accident Sunday in the southern province of Zabul.

The Taliban have increasingly begun to rely on roadside and suicide attacks as a means of targeting local and foreign military forces.

More than 6,200 people, mainly insurgents but also soldiers and civilians, have been killed in violence in Afghanistan in 2007, making it the most violent year since the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001.

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