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34 Killed in Violence in Afghanistan

May 21, 2006|From the Associated Press

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Militants hiding in a vineyard and armed with machine guns Saturday ambushed an Afghan army convoy, killing four soldiers but losing 15 of their own.

The half-mile-long Afghan military convoy was ambushed in Helmand province, the main opium poppy-growing region, where drug profits are believed to fund insurgents, said Gen. Rehmatullah Raufi, the military commander for the south.

The two sides exchanged fire with machine guns and AK-47 assault rifles for six hours before the insurgents fled on foot and motorbikes, the general said.

Another Afghan official, requesting anonymity, said 13 soldiers were missing.

Fifteen people were killed in violence elsewhere, including a U.S. soldier in Oruzgan province in the south, the military said in a statement.

Six American soldiers were wounded and in stable condition.

The 34 deaths came amid some of the worst fighting in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001 and heightened fears of an extremist resurgence.

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