Kandahar: A suicide bomber killed a NATO solider when he detonated an explosives-laden motorcycle near a military patrol in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, an Afghan Army officer said, as troops launched a major assault against militants.
"There was a suicide bombing near the vehicles of US forces. One US soldier was killed, three others were wounded and an Afghan civilian was killed and four others were wounded," said Captain Abdul Rahman, who was near the site on the outskirts of Kandahar city.
NATO said it was unable to immediately confirm the reported death.
A spokesman for NATO`s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said: "We are aware of an explosive device in the area and we are investigating."
The attack, which bore the hallmarks of the Taliban, happened as thousands of US-led troops launched a major assault on an insurgent stronghold in the neighbouring province of Helmand.
A combined force of 15,000 troops led by US Marines launched a pre-dawn assault on the Marjah district of Helmand in an operation aimed at clearing militants from one of their last remaining strongholds in the province.
Hundreds of Afghan, US and British troops had been dropped into Marjah town for Operation Mushtarak ("together" in Dari), ahead of ground forces, a US Marines officer said.