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No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but it fit the pattern of Taliban assaults, which usually focus on government installations or security forces.

Also Monday, three Italian soldiers were killed in a vehicle accident in the west of the country.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano issued a condolence message expressing his “deep emotion” over the news of the deaths in Herat province.

The Italian soldiers were in a convoy going to survey a canal project in Herat’s Shindand district when their vehicle crashed into a canal, said provincial police spokesman Rauf Ahmadi. The Italian news agency ANSA said that the soldiers’ armored vehicle overturned while crossing a stream.

Semini reported from Tirana, Albania. Associated Press writer Mirwais Khan also contributed to this report.