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Roadside Bomb Kills NATO Soldier in Southern Afghanistan

Military officials in Afghanistan say a roadside bomb attack in the southern part of the country has killed one NATO soldier and wounded four others.

The blast hit the soldiers' vehicle Sunday during a routine patrol in or around Kandahar.

Canada's defense ministry says the deceased soldier is Canadian. It adds that the four wounded soldiers are in stable condition.

Taliban militants regularly carry out roadside bombings against foreign and Afghan troops in southern Afghanistan.

In another incident, an Afghan official says Taliban gunmen killed six Afghan security guards and two policemen Saturday, near the town of Maydon Shahr in the central province of Wardak.

The official says the security guards and policemen were in a convoy guarding equipment on the main highway linking Kabul to southern Afghanistan.

Separately, the United Nations' outgoing representative to Afghanistan urged the government to release an Afghan consultant for the U.N. detained last week for alleged contacts with the Taliban.

Afghan authorities detained the U.N. consultant and expelled two European diplomats last week after accusing them of meeting with Taliban leaders in southern Afghanistan and handing money to the militants.

U.N. envoy Tom Koenigs, who left his post Sunday, said the world body does not conduct intelligence operations in Afghanistan and does not pay money to insurgents. He describes the allegations against the U.N. consultant as a misunderstanding.

In other news, a senior regional commander of the Taliban, Mansoor Dadullah, says reports he has been relieved of duty are "a conspiracy" by his enemies.

Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid said the group dismissed Mansoor Dadullah for disobeying orders and violating its regulations. The spokesman said the expulsion was ordered by Mullah Omar, the supreme Taliban leader.

Mansoor Dadullah is the brother of a former top military commander for the Taliban, Mullah Dadullah, who was killed in an Afghan and NATO operation in May.

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