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Top Afghan Officials Escape Assassination

A wounded man is transported at a hospital after a roadside bomb blast in the Panjwai district of Kandahar May 24, 2011

Two high-ranking Afghan officials have escaped assassination in attacks during a spring offensive by insurgents.

In southern Afghanistan, officials say the governor of Helmand province, Mohammad Gulab Mangul, was not injured when gunmen attacked his motorcade near the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, on Tuesday.

Mangul's security forces returned fire, killing two of the attackers.

In Kabul, a suicide car bomber tried to attack the deputy head of Afghanistan's intelligence agency, Ahmad Zia. But Zia escaped unharmed. His bodyguards shot the attacker before he could detonate his explosives-laden vehicle.

In other violence, NATO said one its soldiers was killed by an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan Tuesday. It did not release the name or nationality of the victim.

Elsewhere, a roadside bomb killed 10 road workers in the southern province of Kandahar Tuesday. More than 28 others were wounded by the blast in the Panjwai district. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which was condemned by President Hamid Karzai and NATO.

The Afghan Taliban recently stepped up attacks against NATO and Afghan troops, civilians and government officials, as part of its spring campaign.

NATO on Tuesday confirmed the capture of a senior Taliban leader during a May 14 security operation in the Babaji district of Helmand province.

The coalition also said Tuesday that a joint force captured a Germany-based Moroccan al-Qaida operative during a May 8 security operation in southern Zabul province.

Separately, French military officials say a French fighter jet crashed in western Afghanistan on Tuesday, but no one on board was injured. Officials say enemy fire did not cause the crash.

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