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Roadside bomb kills five in Afghanistan

Written by: Staff
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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, March 4 (Reuters) A roadside bomb killed an Afghan intelligence official, three bodyguards and one other man in southern Afghanistan officials said.

The blast in Nadali district of Helmand province killed Mohammad Ali Borak, a local official of the National Security Administration, said Asadullah Sherzad, head of national security in the province.

''It was a remote-controlled bomb,'' Sherzad told Reuters. He blamed Taliban guerrillas.

Sherzad said an Afghan electrician who had been travelling in the same vehicle as Borak and his bodyguards was also killed.

The attack was the latest in a spate on insurgent violence to hit Helmand. yesterday, Taliban gunmen killed the chief government official in Sangin district, hours after police killed eight guerrillas and arrested 10 in a two-hour battle.

Today's bloodshed came as US President George W Bush was in neighbouring Pakistan discussing ways to improve cooperation in the US-led war on terrorism.

Bush made a brief stop in Afghanistan on Wednesday and ahead of his visit the Afghan government repeatedly complained that Taliban guerrillas had been able to operate from Pakistan.

BIN LADEN US-led forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001 for refusing to give up Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders responsible for the September. 11 attacks.

Four years on, bin Laden remains at large and an intensified insurgency has claimed more than 1,500 lives since the start of last year.

Five Canadian soldiers were wounded yesterday, one seriously, in a suspected suicide car bomb attack in Helmand's neighbouring province of Kandahar that followed a wave of suicide bombings in recent months in which dozens have died.

The violence in Helmand comes as British troops set up bases as part of an expanded NATO deployment aimed at allowing the United States to trim its troop numbers in Afghanistan in the in coming months.

In Islamabad, Bush said he was convinced of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's commitment to the war on terrorism, despite ongoing militancy in Pakistan and the presence of al Qaeda members.

However, Bush suggested he and Musharraf talked about the need to improve intelligence sharing.

REUTERS PG PM1845

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