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7 Afghan Soldiers Killed in Roadside Bombing

Security officials in Afghanistan say seven Afghan soldiers were killed and two wounded Wednesday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the southeastern province of Khost.

No further details were released.

Meanwhile, media and human rights groups say two incidents involving journalists both represent threats to freedom of the press in Afghanistan.

Local journalists met in several cities Wednesday to demand an investigation into the killing of journalist Jawed Ahmad, who was shot to death in the southern city of Kandahar on Tuesday. Ahmad worked for several Canadian news organizations, and had been imprisoned by U.S. troops for nearly a year.

The media group Committee to Protect Journalists said it hoped the killers will be found, unlike cases of other recent journalists' deaths.

Several rights groups are also protesting a recent Supreme Court decision to uphold another reporter's 20-year prison sentence for blasphemy.

Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists are calling on President Hamid Karzai to pardon the young student and part-time reporter, Parwez Kambakhsh. They say his case is a sign of shrinking press freedoms in the country.

The rights groups say the Supreme Court ruled in secret about a month ago to uphold the jail term for Kambakhsh, but did not inform his lawyer of its decision. The lawyer says he was not allowed to present a defense to the court.

Kambakhsh has been jailed since late 2007. He is accused of distributing an article about Islamic women that was deemed offensive to the faith. He says he simply downloaded the article from the Internet and was forced to sign a confession.

The rights groups say he was originally sentenced to death after a trial lasting only a few minutes. They are also concerned for his safety, and say other inmates have threatened to kill him.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.