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Swedish soldier dies after Afghan bomb attack
Updated: 2005-11-26 09:37

A Swedish soldier with the NATO-led mission in northern Afghanistan died after a bomb attack on Friday, the first Swedish peacekeeper to be killed in the country.

The Swedish Defense Ministry said the man was one of four wounded when a remote-controlled bomb struck one vehicle in a convoy of five driving back from a sports event on the outskirts of the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

A mine planted during the sports event caused the blast, an Afghan police spokesman said.

"It is with deep sorrow that I have to announce that a Swedish soldier has fallen in the line of duty while on foreign service," the commander of the Swedish armed forces, Hakan Syren, said in a statement on Saturday.

"My thoughts and those of the Defense Forces go out now to the soldier's relatives," he added.

Three ISAF soldiers have been killed in separate incidents during the past month, including a suicide attack in Kabul. One British peacekeeper was killed and several ISAF soldiers hurt when gunmen fired on their vehicle inside Mazar city last month.

About 9,000 ISAF soldiers are in Afghanistan, charged with keeping the peace after U.S.-led troops overthrew the Taliban government in 2001. A separate U.S.-led force of about 20,000 is hunting the Taliban and their Islamist allies, such as al Qaeda.

The Swedish soldier died in a hospital in Kabul. One of the other wounded troops remained in a serious condition, the army said. The two other soldiers, one of whose injuries was light, were being treated in a hospital in Termez in Uzbekistan.

It said the Afghan police had detained six people in connection with the explosion.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack but suspicion fell on Taliban guerrillas.

Taliban attacks on ISAF troops, stationed mostly in the capital and relatively secure parts of north and western Afghanistan, have been rare compared to those targeting U.S.-led troops in the restive south and east.

Friday's incident comes amid rising attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan where the militants are most active.

More than 1,100 people have been killed in militant-related violence in Afghanistan this year. Most were militants but the dead include nearly 60 U.S. soldiers.

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