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Suicide Bombing Kills 19 in Eastern Afghanistan

Afghan officials say suspected Taliban militants have killed 19 people and wounded at least 41 others in a suicide bombing in the east of the country.

Interior ministry officials say at least seven civilians and 12 policemen died Tuesday in the attack on an opium-eradication team. They say militants opened fire with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades following the bombing in the town of Khogyani, in Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan.

A spokesman for the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, Aleem Siddique, says the attack proves the link between drug producers and terrorists.

Separately, NATO officials say one coalition soldier was killed and another wounded in an attack on their patrol in the eastern province of Kapisa today.

In another development, U.S. Marines began to push into the Gamsar area in Helmand province, an opium-producing region and hotbed of insurgent activity.

Also today, Afghanistan's intelligence chief, Amrullah Saleh, told parliament he knew of the plot to assassinate President Hamid Karzai and had warned Mr. Karzai and his security advisor.

The Afghan president and other dignitaries escaped unharmed from Sunday's attack by the Taliban during a military ceremony in Kabul. Three other people, including a lawmaker, were killed.

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