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Originally published Friday, August 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Bomb kills 2 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

A reinvigorated insurgency killed two U.S. soldiers yesterday when a roadside bomb hit a military convoy protecting road workers, and the...

The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — A reinvigorated insurgency killed two U.S. soldiers yesterday when a roadside bomb hit a military convoy protecting road workers, and the new American ambassador warned that violence by Afghan rebels would not end soon.

But the envoy, Ronald Neumann, played down fears the Taliban-led militants could prevent next month's legislative elections. "When millions of people want to go vote, they will go vote," he said at his first news conference after arriving in Kabul.

A surge of violence since winter has killed about 1,000 people — 59 American soldiers among them. Militants have stepped up assaults in the south and east trying to sabotage the U.S.-backed recovery, while U.S. and Afghan troops answer with their own offensives.

Yesterday, a homemade bomb hit a convoy of U.S. troops supporting crews repairing a road from the main southern city of Kandahar to outlying mountains. Two soldiers in an armored vehicle were killed and two were wounded, the military said.

The recent loss of life has dampened some of the optimism that prevailed after Afghanistan's inaugural presidential election passed off peacefully last fall and insurgent attacks dropped off during the winter.

Part of the effort to safeguard the vote has been an aggressive campaign by Afghan and coalition forces to go after militants in the south and east.

In their latest attack, American and Afghan troops, backed by U.S. warplanes, raided a suspected Taliban camp in Kandahar province's Khakrez district, killing five militants, said the commander of the Afghan National Army, Gen. Muslim Amid.

6 Islamic extremists

killed in gunbattles

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Police raids touched off fierce gunbattles yesterday that killed six Islamic extremists, and authorities said the dead included al-Qaida's leader in Saudi Arabia, whose hide-out was found to hold the head of a murdered American last summer. A police officer was also killed.

Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi, the kingdom's top fugitive, had led local al-Qaida operations since his predecessor was killed by police a year ago during a crackdown on religious militants in the homeland of Osama bin Laden and most of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers.

Al-Aoofi was believed involved in the June 2004 kidnapping and beheading of engineer Paul Johnson. A few weeks after the slaying, police found Johnson's head in a freezer at an apartment that had been used by al-Aoofi.

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