By Ali Safi, McClatchy Newspapers –
KABUL, Afghanistan — A roadside bomb exploded in Kandahar province on Saturday night, killing a U.S. soldier, seven Afghan police officers and an Afghan translator, local officials said.
The blast occurred while Afghan security personnel and U.S.-led coalition forces were about to defuse an improvised explosive device at Kohak village in Arghandab district, said Shah Mohammad, the district governor.
“The Afghan security forces had received information about the IED, but when they reached the area the bomb was exploded by remote control,” Shah Mohammad said.
The International Security Assistance Force, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, confirmed Sunday that one of its soldiers had been killed in an IED attack in southern Afghanistan, but it would not provide further details.
Kandahar province is the home of the Taliban and has long been a center of the insurgency. In 2010, Afghan government and coalition forces were poured into the area in an effort to force out insurgents.
Also Saturday, a roadside bomb exploded in Tarin Kot, the capital of neighboring Uruzgan province, killing two tribal elders and their two police bodyguards, said Farid Hayel, the spokesman for Uruzgan’s police chief.
One of the elders was Haji Khairo Jan, a former senator and a close ally of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The elders were driving to their homes when their car was hit by the bomb, Hayel said.
The Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility for the attack. President Karzai condemned the Uruzgan bombing, which he attributed to “foreign mercenaries.”
Meanwhile, media reports in Afghanistan claimed that Dushanbe, the capital of neighboring Tajikistan, was rocked by an explosion on Sunday. Dushanbe is this week hosting a conference on economic cooperation for Afghanistan.
However, no group immediately claimed responsibility for the Dushanbe attack, and there was no confirmation that the bombing was linked to the conference.