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Published:October 24th, 2007 11:34 EST
Afghan province chief survives bombing

Afghan province chief survives bombing

By SOP newswire

KABUL, Afghanistan - A suicide car bomb went off near the convoy of cars carrying a provincial governor in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, wounding two of his bodyguards and two civilians, the governor said.

Arsallah Jamal, the governor of Khost province, survived the blast in Khost city unhurt.

"I am fine but two of my bodyguards and two civilians were wounded," Jamal told The Associated Press by telephone shortly after the blast.

U.S. troops surrounded the area and took the wounded to a hospital at their base near the city, said Gen. Mohammad Ayub, the provincial police chief.

It was at least the third attempt to kill Jamal, who was returning from a visit to districts near the border with Pakistan when he was targeted on Wednesday.

The U.S.-led coalition, meanwhile, said its forces clashed with suspected militants in central Afghanistan, killing several insurgents and detaining two.

The troops moved into compounds in Nirkh district, Wardak province, late Tuesday on intelligence that militants were hiding there, a coalition statement said.

Coalition troops found weapons, ammunition and explosive materials, it said.

The clash happened in the same province where NATO and Afghan troops on Monday called in airstrikes during a battle that left up to 20 militants but also as many as 12 civilians dead, Afghan officials said.

Spokesman Maj. Charles Anthony said Wednesday the alliance still had no evidence civilians were killed.

NATO said it killed "numerous" enemy fighters.

Afghanistan this year has seen the heaviest fighting since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban. In all, more than 5,200 people have died in insurgency related violence, including some 700 civilians, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Afghan and Western officials.

Elsewhere Wednesday, Afghan officials said five militants were killed in two clashes with Afghan troops in the southern provinces of Zabul and Helmand.

Police in Zabul said they had also killed four militants in a clash Tuesday.

Associated Press Writer Fisnik Abrashi contributed to this report.

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