Afghanistan bombing kills coalition soldier

Afghanistan bombing kills coalition soldier
During an anti-terrorism demonstration, an Afghan man places flowers outside the restaurant in Kabul where 21 people were killed last week. (S. Sabawoon / EPA)

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A bombing at the entrance to a base in southern Afghanistan used by the U.S.-led military coalition killed one international soldier Monday, Afghan officials said.

Nine assailants were gunned down in the attack, which took place outside a coalition base near Zhari, a district in Kandahar province, long a hotbed for Taliban militants, said Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

The incident occurred around 11 a.m. local time when a suicide bomber detonated a Toyota SUV packed with explosives. Eight other gunmen then tried to storm the entrance, Faisal said. Coalition forces fired on the assailants, who were wearing uniforms resembling those of international soldiers, he said.

The Taliban -- which claimed responsibility for the attack -- sometimes dresses its militants in stolen coalition uniforms.

[Updated, 4:46 a.m. PST Jan. 20: The International Security Assistance Force, as the coalition is known, issued a statement saying one of its soldiers "died following a coordinated suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack by enemy forces."]

No Afghan soldiers or civilians were killed in the attack, Faisal said.

In Wardak province in eastern Afghanistan, two children age 8 and 10 were killed when they stepped on a roadside bomb, a spokesman for the provincial governor, Ataullah Khogyani, said Monday.

The incident occurred Sunday in the district of Jalriz, Khogyani said. Roadside bombs are a favorite weapon of Taliban insurgents against coalition and Afghan security forces, but they are among the largest killers of Afghan civilians in the 12-year conflict.

On Friday, in one of the war's worst attacks on Western civilians, Taliban commandos stormed a restaurant in Kabul, the capital, killing 21 people, including 13 foreigners -- three of whom were American.

Baktash is a special correspondent.