Blast kills 1 NATO soldier, injures 2 in southern Afghanistan

An ambush on a NATO patrol vehicle left one soldier dead and two others injured on Monday in southern Afghanistan, NATO said in a statement.

An ambush on a NATO patrol vehicle left one soldier dead and two others injuredin southern Afghanistan, NATO said in a statement on Tuesday.

The attack occurred Monday, NATO said, when suspected insurgents detonated an explosive device in the Panjwaii district in Kandahar province. NATO officials did not disclose the nationality of the soldiers involved.

Canada has more than 2,000 troops in Afghanistan, the majority of them stationed in the volatile southern province of Kandahar. Forty-two Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed since Canada first sent troops to the troubled country in early 2002.

NATO said the injured soldiers were treated at a nearby military hospital. The attack damaged one vehicle.

The area where the attack occurred, Panjwaii,was the focus of aNATO military operation in Septemberknown as Operation Medusa in whichtroops attempted to clearTaliban insurgents from the region. NATO fought intense battles with Taliban fighters for more than two weeks.

Since then, insurgents have been detonating roadside bombs and trying to undermine efforts to create a safe environment for reconstruction in the area.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan on Monday, an attack on police in the east left two insurgents and one police officer dead and two police officers wounded. Insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns at police in Khost province, according to Gen. Mohammad Ayub, the provincial police chief.

Police forced the Taliban to leave the area and the insurgents carried away their dead, he said.

And insurgents released three Afghan aid workers who had been kidnapped in the eastern province of Paktia on Sunday. Insurgents continued to hold two other hostages on Tuesday, according to Gen. Abdul Anan Raufi, a provincial police chief.

The four aid workers and their driver had been working for the International Organization for Migration and were headed to a recently built school when kidnapped.

Village elders in the area negotiated the release of the three and were working to secure the release of the other two, Raufi said.