updated 1/2/2008 4:05:34 PM ET 2008-01-02T21:05:34

Roadside bombs and military operations in Afghanistan killed 21 people, including a coalition soldier and 14 Taliban fighters, as the record violence that Afghanistan saw in 2007 continued into the new year, officials said Wednesday.

A roadside bomb hit a U.S.-led coalition vehicle in eastern Khost province, killing a soldier and an Afghan interpreter, the coalition said. The soldier's nationality was not released, but a majority of the troops in the east are American. Two other soldiers were wounded.

Afghan and foreign troops killed eight suspected Taliban fighters Tuesday the Musa Qala area of southern Helmand province, the Defense Ministry said.

Afghanistan saw a record level of violence in 2007, with more than 6,500 people killed, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.

Helmand, the world's largest poppy-growing region, suffered some of the worst violence. British, U.S. and Afghan troops forced the Taliban to flee the town of Musa Qala last month. The militants had controlled the town and its surrounding areas for more than 10 months.

In Khost, a roadside bomb killed two Afghan security guards working for a U.S. military base, the Defense Ministry said.

Five other militants were killed in separate incidents when roadside bombs they were planting exploded prematurely, the ministry said. It also said Taliban militants killed an Afghan army officer and wounded another in Helmand's Sarkono area.

Police in Khost killed a would-be suicide bomber trying to enter a police checkpoint with hand grenades Tuesday, said Wazir Pacha, a spokesman for Khost's provincial police chief.

A roadside bomb in the south killed two border police in Kandahar province, said Gen. Abdul Razik.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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