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Taliban claims fuel supply bombing

The Taliban said it detonated a bomb on a fuel tanker and then opened fire on other Nato supply trucks, destroying 22 vehicles loaded with fuel and other goods for US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed the early morning attack in Samangan province in the north.

Sidiq Azizi, a spokesman for the province, said many tankers and trailers caught fire after the bomb went off. By noon, heavy black smoke still poured from the Rabatak area of the province where the truckers had stopped to rest. Firefighters were spraying water on the burning vehicles.

Mr Azizi said: "There was a big boom. It's possible that is was a magnetic bomb from insurgents. We are investigating. I counted 20 fuel tankers burning. There is still a very big fire. The weather is very hot and it's hard to get close to the fire."

The tankers in the convoy were transporting fuel south toward the Afghan capital, Kabul, from neighbouring Uzbekistan to the north.

Earlier this week, three Nato supply trucks were destroyed by militants in Sayd Abad district of Wardak province in eastern Afghanistan. Convoy traffic in the east has become heavier since Pakistan reopened its border crossings about two weeks ago. Islamabad blocked Nato supply trucks for seven months in retaliation for US air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

In western Afghanistan, a Nato helicopter crashed, injuring two troops serving with the US-led military coalition, Nato said. The helicopter went down at an undisclosed location in the relatively peaceful west. No other information has been released about the crash, which is under investigation.

Separately, Nato reported that two coalition troops have been killed - one during an insurgent attack in the south and another in a roadside bombing in the east. The troops' nationalities have not yet been released.

Meanwhile in southern Afghanistan, officials said insurgents attacked a checkpoint, killing nine Afghan soldiers and wounding seven others. The Helmand provincial governor's office says the Afghan soldiers died when armed militants attacked an Afghan National Army checkpoint in Washer district. Seven insurgents were killed in the attack.

Also in Helmand, insurgents clashed with Afghan police in Nad Ali district. An insurgent commander was killed and six other militants were captured.

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