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Eight Afghan Soldiers Are Killed by Mine

July 18, 2003

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Eight Afghan soldiers were killed Friday when their vehicle was blown apart by a remote controlled mine, an Afghan security official said.

The soldiers were on patrol in the violent Khost province, where suspected Taliban fugitives have carried out scores of attacks against Afghan soldiers as well as U.S.-led coalition forces, Rehman Karim, security officer, said.

The soldiers who were killed were part of a special unit working with the U.S.-led coalition forces to monitor the regions that border Pakistan, Karim said.

The Afghan authorities have complained that members of the ousted Taliban are launching attacks from safe havens in the lawless tribal regions of western Pakistan. The repressive Taliban regime was ousted in 2001 by the U.S.-led coalition, which launched its war on terror in Afghanistan to flush out operatives of the al-Qaida terrorist network and their protectors, the Taliban.

The frequent attacks against coalition forces and their Afghan allies are routinely blamed on the Taliban, al-Qaida and loyalists of renegade rebel leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. There is no indication of the evidence that points to these forces as the culprits.

The Afghan administration, however, points to the many pamphlets circulating in Afghanistan warning Afghans not to work with international forces and threatening attacks on foreign troops as well as aid workers.

In a separate incident the U.S. military said three or four rockets were fired at a border checkpoint near Khost on Thursday night. There were no casualties or damage to equipment, said Col. Rod Davis, a U.S. military spokesman at Bagram air base.

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