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Afghan Forces Kill 5 Suicide Bomber-Suspects in Eastern Afghanistan

Afghan authorities say security forces have killed five militants suspected of planning to carry out suicide bombings in the country's east.

Officials say Afghan forces attacked the five would-be suicide bombers Monday before the militants could reach their targets in the Barmal district of Paktika province.

Taliban militants have stepped up their use of coordinated suicide attacks in their campaign against the Afghan government and NATO forces protecting it. The Taliban claimed responsibility for multiple suicide bombings Saturday that killed 35 people in the southern city of Kandahar.

The militant group said the attacks were a response to NATO's plan to launch a major anti-Taliban offensive in Kandahar province later this year.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai discussed the fight against terrorism Sunday in a telephone conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The two leaders condemned the attacks in Kandahar and a similar wave of suicide bombings in Pakistan's Swat district and city of Lahore in recent days.

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