updated 11/23/2005 5:44:12 AM ET 2005-11-23T10:44:12

A roadside bomb tore through an American armored vehicle in southern Afghanistan, killing a U.S. soldier and an Afghan interpreter, officials said Wednesday.

In separate violence, Taliban rebels killed an Indian truck driver they had kidnapped, officials said.

The U.S. vehicle was part of a military resupply convoy in Uruzgan province, an area wracked by Taliban rebel violence, a military statement said.

The death on Tuesday brought to 205 the number of U.S. troops killed in and around Afghanistan since the hard-line Islamic regime was ousted in 2001.

Rebel attacks and abductions have surged this year, leaving almost 1,500 people dead, mostly in southern and eastern regions.

Police commander Bahdur Khan said villagers found the body of the Indian, Maniappan Raman Kutty, who had almost been decapitated, in Nimroz province’s Dilaram district.

Outrage from India
India’s government expressed outrage at the murder.

“We strongly condemn this inhuman and barbaric act against an innocent person,” said Navtej Sarna, India’s external affairs ministry spokesman. “The Taliban and its backers bear the responsibility for the consequences of this outrageous act.”

Purported Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammed Yousaf said the rebels shot Kutty because the Indian state-owned construction company he worked for had not agreed to the kidnappers’ demands to pull out of Afghanistan.

Kutty was kidnapped along with three Afghans in Nimroz province on Saturday. One of the Afghans has since been released, while the fate of the two other Afghans was unknown.

The abduction was the latest kidnapping in southern Afghanistan. A British engineer working on a road project and two Japanese tourists were kidnapped in August and killed.

In other violence, militants near the capital, Kabul, shot and killed an Afghan working as the head of security for a Turkish construction company, said Abdul Rasool, a police commander in Logar province. Two other guards were wounded in the attack late Tuesday.

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