Roadside bomb kills 3 US soldiers in Afghanistan

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ASADABAD, Afghanistan, Mar 12 (Reuters) Three U S soldiers were killed today when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, the provincial governor said.

The soldiers were killed during a patrol on a road in Watapur district to the northwest of Asadabad, a part of Kunar province which lies close to the border with Pakistan, Assadullah Wafa, told Reuters ''Three American soldiers were killed and one other was wounded in this roadside bomb,'' he said.

A spokesman for the U.S. military in the capital Kabul said he had no immediate information about the incident.

The attack comes amid rising violence by ousted Islamic Taliban militants who have recently stepped up their attacks against foreign forces based in Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai's government.

If confirmed, today's attack brings the number of U S losses to at least 10 dead this year in Afghanistan.

U S-led forces overthrew Taliban's government in late 2001 after its leaders refused to hand over al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, the architect of September11 attacks on the United States.

Early today, two civilians and two suicide bombers were killed in a car bomb in Kabul in an attempt to assassinate a former president, Sibghatuallh Mojadidi, who is seeking to encourage Taliban defections.

Mojadidi survived the attack but suffered some burns on his hands as a result of the attack. He accused neighbouring Pakistan's intelligence service of being behind the attack.

Pakistan denied Mojadidi's charges.

A top military commander for the Taliban, Mullah Dadullah, said the attackers were Taliban fighters.

REUTERS KD VC2130

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