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New Attacks Strike in Afghanistan


British soldiers inspect a car that was hit by a roadside bomb in Kabul
A roadside bomb outside the Afghan capital, Kabul, wounded at least five people Monday, and insurgents fired a missile at NATO's security force compound in the capital.

Police officials say the bomb went off shortly after a NATO vehicle drove by on the main road east of Kabul.

The explosion injured five Afghan civilians riding in a taxi behind the NATO car.

An earlier overnight blast shook NATO's fortified headquarters in central Kabul, but no casualties were reported.

Karen Tissot van Patot, a spokeswoman for the NATO military force keeping security in Kabul, says a rocket was fired at the compound, and the shell landed near a military barracks around one o'clock Monday morning.

"There were no injuries, and only a little damage to the building as a result of the incident," she said.

The two attacks have contributed to increasing unease across the country, as the Taleban insurgency intensifies after several months of relative calm during the harsh winter.

On Sunday, gunmen shot and killed a prominent pro-government cleric in Kandahar.

Mawlavi Abdullah Fayaz was murdered as he left his office in the southern city, considered a stronghold for pro-Taleban sentiment.

Last week, Mr. Fayaz condemned the insurgency in a speech to more than 500 religious leaders.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the killing. At least 10 suspects have been arrested.

Also on Sunday, a local television station aired a video of a kidnapped Italian aid worker. Gunmen abducted the 32-year-old Clementina Cantoni on May 16 in Kabul.

The video shows two men pointing rifles at Ms. Cantoni's head, while an unseen captor prompts her to identify herself for the camera.

"My name is Clementina…. My name is Clementina. My father's name is? My father's name is Fabio," she repeated after captor.

It is not clear when the video was shot.

There were reports last week that Ms. Cantoni had been killed. The tape has raised hopes that she is still in good health and could be released.

But it has also sparked fears that kidnappers in Afghanistan are copying the techniques of insurgents in Iraq, where several foreigners have been abducted, then video of them in captivity has been released. In many such cases, the kidnapping victims were later murdered.