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Blast hits U S military convoy in Afghanistan

Written by: Staff
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ASADABAD, Afghanistan, Apr 1 (Reuters) A blast hit a U S military convoy in Afghanistan today but there were no immediate reports of casualties, Afghan provincial officials said.

Violence in Afghanistan has intensified in recent days since Taliban insurgents said they launched a spring offensive in their campaign to oust foreign troops and defeat the Western-backed government.

The explosion happened in the Peche valley of eastern Kunar province, near the border with Pakistan and the scene of repeated clashes between insurgents and U S and Afghan government troops.

A helicopter was seen landing in the area soon after the blast, leading to speculation it may have been evacuating casualties, said one official, who declined to be identified.

A U S military spokesman said he had no report on the blast, which was in the same area where four U S soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb last month.

In a separate incident, a suicide car-bomber blew himself up near a convoy of Canadian and Afghan government troops in the southern province of Kandahar, but none of the troops was hurt, said Afghan commander General Rahmatullah Raufi.

It was the third suicide blast in Kandahar in three days.

Just after the blast, panicked Afghan troops shot dead a man riding a motorbike in the mistaken suspicion he was another attacker, Raufi said.

In a separate incident, the head of an elected provincial council in the northeastern province of Takhar was killed by unidentified gunmen who raided his house today, an interior ministry official said.

Sayed Sadiq, a former factional commander, was elected to the province's council in legislative elections in September.

Militants are not known to be active in the province and some residents speculated he might have been killed as a result of a factional feud.

The interior ministry said it was investigating.

REUTERS DKS BST1736

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