Attacks in southern Afghanistan kill at least 18

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — A pair of attacks in southern Afghanistan in the past 24 hours killed 18 people as Taliban fighters escalate their activity while U.S.-led foreign forces reduce their presence and hand over primary security responsibility to Afghan troops.

In the most recent attack, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a police checkpoint and a bank today. At least six people died — four of them civilians, one police officer and one private security guard. Another 24 people were wounded.

Another 12 people were killed in an ambush involving a roadside bomb in Helmand province yesterday evening.

Separately, a NATO service member was killed by insurgents in the country’s east, according to a military statement.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

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