Blasts kill NATO soldier, wound kids in Afghan south

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LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, Oct 8 (Reuters) A roadside bomb hit a convoy of NATO forces today in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier, the alliance said, as three children were wounded in a suicide attack.

The blast occurred in an area of Uruzgan province where Dutch and Australian troops form the bulk of NATO's force, it said without identifying the casualties. One soldier was wounded.

Violence has surged to its worst level in the past 20 months in Afghanistan, the bloodiest period since US-led troops overthrew Taliban's government in 2001.

Separately today, a suicide bomber missed his target in a neighbouring province, wounding three children instead of hitting a convoy of Western troops, witnesses said.

The blast happened close to a government building in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand, a long-time bastion for Taliban insurgents and the main drug-producing region of the world's largest source of heroin.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Taliban largely rely on roadside attacks and suicide raids as part of their campaign against the Afghan government and foreign troops stationed in the country.

REUTERS PD KN1622

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