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Afghan Vice Presidential Candidate Escapes Assassination Attempt


Afghan officials say one of President Hamid Karzai's vice presidential running mates in next month's elections escaped unharmed after Taliban insurgents ambushed his convoy Sunday.

The officials say Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a former war lord and defense minister, was traveling in northern Kunduz province when insurgents opened fire on his convoy.

In southern Helmand province Sunday, a soldier from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force died of his wounds suffered in an insurgent attack a day earlier.

Also in Helmand, the Interior Ministry said a mine explosion killed three local security guards late Saturday.

The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said a roadside bomb killed two Afghan soldiers and wounded three others in eastern Paktika province bordering Pakistan.

And, a roadside bomb blast wounded at least three Italian soldiers Saturday in western Herat province.

Taliban attacks have made July the deadliest month since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.

An independent Web site www.icasualties.org that tracks military casualties in Afghanistan says 67 foreign troops have died in the war this month alone.

Thousands of U.S. Marines, British and Afghan troops are conducting an offensive against Taliban militants in Helmand to try to secure the southern province ahead of the election.

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

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