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Suspects Arrested in Weekend Afghan Attack

Afghan traffic officers check the engine which is all that remained of the vehicle used in a car bomb explosion, beside a damaged vehicle, after an explosion in Kandahar, south of Kabul, 11 Dec 2010

Afghan and coalition forces have arrested several suspects in connection with Sunday's deadly attack in southern Afghanistan that reports say left six American soldiers dead.

The attack in the southern province of Kandahar targeted a new outpost operated by Afghan and coalition forces. It was the deadliest strike on coalition troops this month.

Afghan officials say a suicide bomber detonated a van packed with explosives near the entrance to the small building. The powerful blast caused the roof to collapse on the soldiers inside.

NATO spokesman Brigadier General Josef Blotz says coalition and local forces have detained several suspects in connection with Sunday's attack.

"Individuals believed to be involved in yesterday's attack have been arrested by Afghan and coalition forces only last night. So that's good news and there were no shots fired in this arrest operation," said Blotz.

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the bombing that reports say also wounded several U.S soldiers.

U.S President Barack Obama is set to review his Afghan strategy, announced last year, which led to an increase in the number of U.S forces in Afghanistan. The move was aimed at reversing an ever growing Taliban insurgency in the country.

Mr. Obama plans to begin withdrawing American forces in July, but NATO spokesman Brigadier General Blotz again dismissed reports the International Security Assistance Force, the ISAF, intend to abandon Afghanistan.

"Turning over the lead on security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014 is the goal but we will move forward with transition based on conditions on the ground,". said Blotz "This Taliban claim that ISAF will leave in July 2011 should be evaluated again very carefully in August 2011 because ISAF forces will still be there and the Taliban will remain under enormous pressure."

NATO casualties have steadily increased in Afghanistan, and the past year has proven to be the deadliest for international forces. There are nearly 480 U.S troops among more than 680 killed so far this year.

Sunday's attack on international forces took place in the southern Zahri district, where Taliban's fugitive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar organized the radical Islamic movement in the early 1990s.

About 100 Afghan members of parliament demanded on Monday that President Hamid Karzai inaugurate the country's legislative assembly by next Sunday. The demand comes three weeks after the announcement of the final results of a fraud-marred election for Afghanistan's lower house of parliament.