3 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan bombing

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A roadside bomb struck a U.S. convoy in southern Afghanistan yesterday, killing three American troops, while a motorcycle bomb in a crowded village market killed at least three Afghan civilians, officials said.

NATO spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said the blast hit the American convoy in the Zhari district of Kandahar province, the spiritual heartland of the Taliban and one of the most volatile regions in Afghanistan. Collins originally said four U.S. troops were killed in the blast, but Capt. Luca Carniel later said NATO had revised the death toll.

The attack follows a truck bombing a day earlier on a NATO outpost in Helmand province that killed three Georgian soldiers. So far this year, 58 international service troops, including 44 U.S. troops, have been killed in Afghanistan, an AP count shows.

Earlier yesterday, a bomb hidden in a parked motorcycle ripped through a packed market in the village of Safar in Helmand, according to Omer Zawak, spokesman for the provincial governor. Three people were killed and seven were wounded in the blast, he said.

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Meanwhile, the Taliban released the last four of eight Turks taken hostage last month. In an email, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the group freed the four yesterday afternoon as a "goodwill" gesture to fellow Muslims.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed their release.

The eight Turks, along with an Afghan translator and two pilots, were held after bad weather forced their helicopter to make an emergency landing on April 21. The Taliban released the first four Turks of the group on Sunday. The fate of the translator and pilots is unknown.

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