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UN:  'Peace Day' Events Held in Afghanistan as Violence Rages in the South

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan said peace events were held across the country on an unprecedented scale Friday to mark the U.N. International Day of Peace.

Major cities held events, including kite-flying for children and marches, as troops battled insurgents in the volatile south.

The U.S. military said U.S. and Afghan forces raided an insurgent hideout in southern Helmand province, killing about 40 Taleban fighters on Friday.

It said large caches of arms and ammunition were seized during the operation in Garmsir district.

And Afghan authorities said a suicide bomber struck a convoy of French troops in Kabul, killing a French soldier and wounding several Afghan civilians.

Taleban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.

Militant attacks have soared in recent months in Afghanistan. More than 3,000 people have been killed this year as Afghan, NATO and U.S. forces battle Taleban fighters.

In a separate development, the NATO mission in Afghanistan admitted there were civilian deaths during a NATO airstrike on Wednesday in Helmand's Girishk district. Afghan officials said at least six civilians were killed. NATO said it called in the strike after British-led forces came under heavy fire from Taleban militants.

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