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Heavy Fighting in Afghanistan Kills 9 Americans, Many Insurgents

Western officials in Kabul say heavy fighting in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan has killed nine American soldiers and a large number of Taliban militants.

Accounts of the clash Sunday in Kunar province, near the Pakistani border, say it began with a dawn attack by militants on a small U.S. base at Wanat village and that a firefight raged throughout the day.

One unconfirmed report says "dozens" of Taliban insurgents died in the battle. No official count of casualties on either side has been released, due to continuing fighting, but it appeared to be one of the deadliest assaults on U.S. forces since they entered Afghanistan in late 2001.

In Helmand province today, military officials say U.S.-led coalition forces killed at least 40 militants. And Afghan authorities say a suicide attack in the south of the country killed at least 24 people, most of them civilians.

An Interior Ministry spokesman tells VOA the bomber was targeting police in a market in the Deh Rawood district of Uruzgan province. Five policemen and 19 civilians were killed, and about 40 others. mostly civilians, were wounded in the attack.

No one has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, but Afghan authorities are blaming Taliban insurgents. The attack came less than a week after another suicide bomber killed more than 40 people outside the Indian Embassy in the capital, Kabul.

In another incident Sunday in Helmand province, the U.S. military said a roadside bomb explosion killed one coalition soldier.