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Afghan violence leaves 15 security guards dead

A SUICIDE attack and a roadside bomb killed 15 Afghan security guards over the past two days, part of a spate of violence that has left 35 people around Afghanistan dead, including a British soldier, officials said yesterday.

Taliban militants are behind a relentless wave of attacks in Afghanistan, eight years after the United States-led invasion.

US President Barack Obama's administration has ordered 21,000 new US troops to join the fight in the hope of reversing Taliban gains.

At the main US base in Bagram yesterday, Major General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, took over command of all troops in eastern Afghanistan from outgoing Major General Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of the 101st Airborne Division.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber on a motorbike attacked a convoy of Afghan security guards ferrying supplies to international troops yesterday, killing five of them. The attack, in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar, occurred about 2 kilometers from the Pakistan border, said district police chief Safiullah Khan.

A day earlier, another convoy in eastern Paktika province was hit by a blast that killed one security guard, said police chief Azizullah Wardak. A second explosive device then ripped through the convoy and killed nine guards in another vehicle, Wardak said.

Also on Tuesday, two policemen were killed and five were wounded in a roadside bomb blast in southern Kandahar province. Separately, a roadside bomb killed a British soldier in the NATO-led force in Helmand, Britain's Defense Ministry said.

As newly arriving US Marines enter the violent Afghan south - the spiritual home of the Taliban and the country's major drug-producing region - the military said US deaths will likely increase even further this summer.

U.S. experts say they expect improvised explosive device attacks, roadside bombs and suicide attacks, to rise 50 percent this year, contributing to the increase in casualties.


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