updated 3/17/2008 2:05:18 PM ET 2008-03-17T18:05:18

A suicide car bomber attacked a group of international troops at a bazaar in southern Afghanistan on Monday, killing three NATO soldiers and four Afghans, officials said.

Two Danish troops, a Czech special forces soldier and an Afghan translator were killed in the attack in the Gereshk district of Helmand province. NATO said four other soldiers were wounded.

Provincial police Chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal said the suicide car bomb killed three Afghan civilians and wounded seven others.

A member of Czech army's special forces was also killed in the blast, the Czech army said.

Maj. Gen. Poul Kiaerskou, head of the Danish Army Operational Command, said the troops were patrolling in Gereshk with their unit and had just arrived at the bazaar before the attack.

The Danes were on their way to visit a reconstruction project when the bomb went off. The unit was involved in a school and a woman's center project.

"It is incredibly tragic that our fight for peace and democracy again should cost human lives," said Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of the nationalist and populist Danish People's Party, which is a key government ally.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Denmark had no plans to pull out from Afghanistan.

"A stable Afghanistan is also important for our safety here in Denmark," Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement. "The Danish government will continue to support the efforts to create stability and progress in the country."

It was the first time that Danes have been killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan. Denmark has 600 troops in Afghanistan serving under NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

A Danish soldier was wounded while on a patrol Sunday in the same region when the soldier's unit was attacked with handguns and rockets, the army said.

In nearby Kandahar province, a Canadian soldier died Sunday after stepping on a mine while on patrol in Panjwayi district, the Canadian military said. He was the 81st Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan.

Militants set off 160 suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan last year, a record number, according to the United Nations. More than 8,000 people died from insurgency-related violence, the U.N. reported.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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