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Suicide Bombings in Afghanistan Increase Sharply


A suicide attacker has hit a military convoy on patrol outside the Afghan capital, Kabul killing a civilian. Suicide bomb attacks have increased dramatically in Afghanistan during the past few days.

The bomber apparently detonated a car packed with explosives as Canadian troops traveled along the main road leading from the capital to the American military base in Bagram.

Officials said the blast killed the suicide bomber and a local Afghan man. The Canadians reportedly escaped serious injury.

NATO spokesman Major Luke Knittig says international peacekeepers moved in quickly to secure the area.

"We have put a quick reaction force at the scene that is providing investigative and medical assistance," he said.

The early morning attack was the latest in a string of suicide bombings in recent days.

Officials count at least five attacks in the past two days, and more than 20 in the past two months.

Taleban insurgents recently vowed to intensify their four-year-old fight against the U.S.-backed central government.

The hard-line Islamic group took control of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, providing sanctuary to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist organization. The Taleban was driven from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led invasion.

Earlier this year, fugitive Taleban officials claimed they had recruited some 200 suicide bombers to attack government and foreign military targets.

But Afghan and coalition officials say their development and peacekeeping projects will go ahead as planned.

Major Knittig, the NATO spokesman, says national and international forces are ready for whatever the Taleban has in store.

"It is part of a test that we fully expected, and you're seeing growing capacity, particularly from Afghan security forces, to deal with this threat," noted Knittig.

NATO has about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, and will add another 5,000 later this year when it expands its security force to the country's southern and eastern provinces.

Last year, approximately 1,600 people in Afghanistan were killed by insurgent-related violence, the highest number since the invasion.

More than 300 people have been killed this year, including 15 American and at least seven Canadian soldiers.