May 8, 2009 / 12:22 PM / 10 years ago

Two British soldiers among Afghan bombing deaths

KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide bomb strike in southern Afghanistan on Thursday that killed 16 civilians also killed two British soldiers, the British military said on Friday.

Afghan officials had reported the attack by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle in southern Helmand Province late on Thursday but were unable at the time to confirm whether any foreign troops were among the dead.

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan said 16 Afghan civilians had died as well as two NATO soldiers. Thirty Afghan civilians were wounded.

British military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson said the two dead British NATO soldiers included a member of a Nepalese Gurkha unit and a member of the Royal Military Police.

The attack took place in Gereshk, a town on a major highway in Helmand, one of the most violent parts of Afghanistan, where the British-led NATO force is about to be doubled in size with the arrival of more than 8,000 U.S. marines.

Taliban militants have frequently used suicide bombers against foreign forces and government targets.

“This senseless act of violence was committed with the full knowledge that a large number of Afghan lives would be lost,” Brigadier General Richard Blanchette, spokesman for the NATO-led force, said in a statement.

Editing by Paul Tait

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