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Afghanistan clash kills 10 French soldiers

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The French government said Tuesday 10 of its soldiers died in fighting near Kabul, while U.S. and Afghan forces killed several insurgents in other clashes.

The French defense ministry said its soldiers, part of the 1,670-strong French contingent with NATO forces in Afghanistan, had been engaged in fighting Taliban militants since Monday, CNN reported.

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Other reports said the fighting had been heavy but further details were not immediately available.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the CNN report said several suicide bombers and militants tried to attack the Forward Operating Base Salerno, a U.S. base north of Khost in eastern Afghanistan, but were beaten back.

Khost is about 12 miles from the border with Pakistan. The report said seven insurgents, including three suicide bombers, were killed.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said the approaching militants had been observed by U.S. and Afghan troops at the base.

A Taliban spokesman claimed 15 suicide bombers inflicted heavy casualties at the base, which was dismissed both by ISAF and local officials, the report said.

The latest incident follows a suicide car bombing Monday outside the base in which 10 Afghan civilians died.

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