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Former Afghan President Survives Assassination Attempt

Former Afghan President Berhanuddin Rabbani survived an assassination attempt Thursday in the country's northern Kunduz province.

Local officials said Taliban fighters attacked Mr. Rabbani's convoy with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire. They said no one in the convoy was hurt, but that three attackers were killed in a battle with bodyguards and police.

Mr. Rabbani is a supporter of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, a main challenger to incumbent President Hamid Karzai in the August 20 presidential and provincial council elections.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Also Thursday, in the south, gunfire killed a U.S. soldier, and a roadside bomb claimed the lives of three British troops.

In Archi district of Kunduz, Afghan police and insurgents clashed for a second day. Officials said eight insurgents and two policemen were killed.

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, known locally as Radio Azadi, has announced it will host the only debate featuring all three leading presidential candidates, including Mr. Karzai.

The event will take place Sunday in Kabul and will be broadcast live throughout the country on Radio Azadi and televised on Afghanistan's state television channel RTA, as well as other local and international media.

In Washington, the State Department said U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke will visit the region next week.

Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley said Holbrooke will leave Washington Friday for Islamabad and then Kabul, where he will observe the polls.

Crowley said Holbrooke's final stop will be Turkey.

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