French President Francois Hollande (L) and Afghan president Hamid Karzai (R) speak at the presidential palace in Kabul on May 25, 2012. —AFP Photo

KANDAHAR: Five bomb blasts in Afghanistan Friday killed five people and wounded at least 11, officials said, as French President Francois Hollande visited to discuss the early withdrawal of troops.

Two passengers died and three were injured when a bus struck a roadside bomb in southern Helmand province, said Daud Ahmadi, the Helmand government spokesman.

“It was a bomb planted by the enemy,” he said, referring to Taliban insurgents trying to bring down President Hamid Karzai’s Western-backed government.

In the same province, a man was killed and two children were wounded by an improvised explosive device, Nato’s International Security Assistance Force reported.

“These are examples of how the insurgents plant IEDs with a complete disregard for the safety of innocent civilians,” said Lt. Col. Stewart Upton, spokesperson for ISAF’s Regional Command Southwest.

In southern Uruzgan province, a roadside bomb killed a police officer and injured three others, while a local police commander was killed in neighbouring Kandahar province, Afghan officials said.

And in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle wounded a policeman and two civilians, local government spokesman Jawed Faisal told AFP.

France has some 3,550 troops serving in the 130,000-strong Nato force fighting the Taliban insurgency, but Hollande has pledged to bring them home by the end of this year – two years ahead of his Western allies.

The French leader met French troops in the eastern province of Kapisa and held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

 


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