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Bomb Kills 4 Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

April 23, 2006|From the Associated Press

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A roadside bomb killed four Canadian soldiers Saturday in southern Afghanistan, and commanders blamed loyalists of the former Taliban regime.

Canadian officers said the bomb destroyed one of four armored vehicles in a convoy and killed its four occupants about 25 miles north of the southern city of Kandahar, a former Taliban stronghold.

"We are pretty confident that it was the Taliban, and we knew coming in here that they would be targeting us," Maj. Quentin Innis told the Associated Press.

The attack was the deadliest against the 2,200-strong Canadian contingent since it took over responsibility for Kandahar from U.S. troops. At least 16 Canadians have been killed in the turbulent country since 2002.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but Taliban militants have vowed to step up attacks on coalition and Afghan forces.

Rising violence is a growing concern for nations contributing troops to a force operating here under a North Atlantic Treaty Organization mandate. The force's troop level is to rise from the current 10,000 to about 21,000 by November as it gradually assumes command of all international troops in Afghanistan.

Six thousand mainly British, Canadian and Dutch troops have started deploying in the south, which abuts the frontier with Pakistan.

The remote, tribal-dominated region is believed to be a haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists.

On Saturday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused "foreigners" of fomenting the country's insurgency.

"You must be sure that this is not by Afghans. The killing of ... [innocent] people is by the enemy of Afghans," he said.

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