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Afghan Blast Kills 8 NATO Troops

Taliban militants are claiming responsibility for a bomb blast that killed eight NATO troops Thursday in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.

Seven of those killed were Americans. It was the deadliest attack on NATO forces in almost a month.

Afghan police said two of its officers were also killed in the blast in the mountainous Shorabak district. They say the bomb was hidden in a canister and set off as NATO troops and Afghan police approached on foot.

A Taliban spokesman said its fighters planted the bomb.

Earlier Thursday, a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan killed a NATO soldier. NATO says the cause of the crash is unknown and under investigation.

Thursday's bombing in Kandahar was the deadliest attack on coalition forces since April 27, when an Afghan air force pilot opened fire at a military airport in Kabul, killing eight U.S. military personnel and a civilian employee.

NATO has been bracing for an increase in attacks ever since Afghan insurgents announced the start of their latest offensive about a month ago.

Thousands of U.S. and NATO troops have been working for months to wipe out Taliban strongholds across southern and eastern Afghanistan.

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