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Afghanistan sees violence upsurge
Afghanistan has been hit by some of the heaviest fighting since the US-led invasion in 2001 to oust the Taleban.
Taleban fighters are battling police in Helmand province where officials say about 50 militants and 13 police died.
Coalition and Afghan troops have conducted more operations in Kandahar and say at least seven militants died.
A US national was killed by a suicide bomber on Thursday in Herat, where such attacks are rare, while another bomber blew himself up in the city of Ghazni.
The Ghazni blast happened at an Afghan army base as a US military convoy was passing. The bomber and a civilian were killed.
This came shortly after an attacker rammed a bomb-filled vehicle into a convoy in Herat, killing himself and a civilian American contractor.
So far this year there have been at least 20 suicide attacks compared with 17 for the whole of 2005 and five in 2004.
The fighting in Helmand began on Wednesday when Taleban forces stormed the town of Musa Qala.
At least 13 Afghan policemen were killed, along with about 50 Taleban fighters, officials said.
"It was the biggest attack [in Helmand] since the fall of the Taleban," provincial governor Amir Mohammad Akhundzada told Reuters news agency.
Fighting was continuing on Thursday in the village of Sar Besha, about 20km (12 miles) north of the town, a spokesman for Helmand's governor told the BBC.
He said coalition forces were providing air support to chase away the militants.
The Taleban have stepped up attacks on foreign and Afghan forces as the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force expands to help the Afghan government with security and reconstruction.
Isaf currently has about 9,000 personnel but plans to build up to about 21,000 troops by November.
Nato spokesman in Afghanistan Mark Laity told the BBC that resistance to the deployment was only to be expected.
"Although the Americans have done a brilliant job down there, a lot of Helmand, Kandahar...all these areas in the south, are effectively ungoverned space," he said.
The aim was to move forces in to really take control of the territory later this year, he said.