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Police Warning Shots Cut Short Karzai Speech


Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly ended a speech to a capacity crowd in Kabul's main stadium Sunday after police fired gunshots to restrain a crowd outside.

Officials urged the crowd in the stadium to remain calm, and initially said the loud noises were from stones thrown at a metal gate by people not able to get inside.

However, Afghan authorities later said police fired shots in the air to keep the crowd from trying to force its way into the stadium.

Later Sunday, President Karzai renewed a call to hold talks with Taleban rebels in an effort to end fighting in the country.

He denied that his government is already in "formal negotiations" with the Islamic militants.

Mr. Karzai spoke during a joint news conference with visiting Latvian President Valdis Zatlers.

In other developments, U.S. military officials in Afghanistan say a coalition soldier was killed in a bombing Sunday in the southern province of Helmand. Four other soldiers were wounded. A military statement did not give the soldiers' nationalities.

On Saturday, two British soldiers were killed and several others wounded in a Taleban attack south of Garmsir in the same province.

The U.S. military said U.S.-led forces killed more than 30 suspected militants in the Garmsir area Saturday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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