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8 Afghan Government Soldiers Killed Near Khost - 2003-07-18

In Afghanistan, at least eight government soldiers have been killed in the troubled southeastern region along the border with Pakistan.

Eyewitnesses and local officials are reported as saying the Afghan soldiers were killed when their vehicle was blown apart by a remote-controlled device. The attack took place near the town of Khost, on the main road that leads to the border with Pakistan.

A senior Afghan commander is said to be among the dead. Local officials say the soldiers were part of a special unit working with the U.S.-led anti-terrorism forces in Afghanistan.

The troubled southeastern Khost region has witnessed several attacks against Afghan and foreign troops in recent weeks. The violence is blamed on suspected members of the ousted Taleban government and their allies.

Afghan authorities also allege that some of these fugitives are using bases in the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan to launch the attacks. Pakistani officials deny the charges, and say they have deployed thousands of troops in an attempt to seal the porous border.

In a separate incident, a U.S. military spokesman says that up to four rockets were fired at a border checkpoint near Khost on Thursday night. No casualties or damage to equipment are reported in the attack.

Earlier this week, a group of suspected Taleban militants stormed a police station in a remote region of the southern Kandahar province, killing five officers.