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NATO lowers death toll Afghan blast to 3 US troops

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MIRWAIS KHAN and KATHY GANNON | May 14, 2013 11:21 AM EST | AP

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — NATO has lowered the death toll in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan, saying 3 US service members killed instead of four.

NATO spokesman Col. Thomas Collins initially told The Associated Press that 4 US service members were killed Tuesday when their convoy struck a roadside bomb in Kandahar province.

Capt. Luca Carniel later told the AP the death toll has been revised to 3.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A roadside bomb struck a U.S. convoy and killed four American troops in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, while a motorcycle bomb in a crowded village market in a neighboring province killed at least three people, officials said.

The blast that hit the American convoy took place in the Zhari district of Kandahar province, said NATO spokesman Col. Thomas Collins. Kandahar is the spiritual heartland of the Taliban, and one of the most volatile regions in Afghanistan. Several service members were also wounded, although the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

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 have been killed in Afghanistan, according to an Associated Press count. Of those, 44 are U.S. service members.

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

Four children were among the wounded, two critically, police spokesman Shah Mahmood Hashna said.

In the northern province of Kapisa, a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a U.S. Special Operation Forces convoy as it was returning to base after clearing land mines, according to NATO spokesman, Maj. Bryan Woods. He said there were no casualties in the attack.

However, Qais Qadri, spokesman for the Kapisa governor, said one civilian was killed.

___

Gannon reported from Kabul. Associated Press writers Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez in Kabul, and Mirwais Khan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Misha Dzhindzhikashvili from Tbilisi, Georgia contributed to this report.