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Afghan bomb kills 4 U.S. soldiers

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(CNN) -- Four U.S. soldiers have been killed and three others wounded in a bomb attack south of Deh Chopan in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. military.

The three were wounded while trying to pull their fellow soldiers to safety, the military said in a statement on Sunday. They were wounded in "a number of secondary explosions" sparked by a fire started by the bomb blast.

All three were taken to a nearby base for treatment of shrapnel wounds, the military said, and were in stable condition.

The soldiers' unit was conducting operations as part of a mission to find and defeat suspected insurgents in the area, with a goal of providing a safe environment for upcoming September elections, the military said. No further details were released.

Fourteen U.S. soldiers have died this month in Afghanistan, 11 of them in hostile situations.

Later on Sunday, a roadside bomb detonated near a convoy of U.S. embassy officials outside the Afghan capital of Kabul, lightly wounding two U.S. officials, an embassy spokesman said.

"We made sure everybody was secure, and people were evacuated," said Michael Macy.

The embassy did not release the names or positions of the two wounded. Macy said the two had been in the same vehicle.

U.S. officials in the region "already have a number of procedures in place to guard against" such attacks, Macy said.

He said he did not know whether any additional precautions would be taken.

Last week 17 Spanish soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in western Afghanistan.

The violence and the mounting deaths come during a volatile period in Afghanistan, where U.S. and Afghan forces has been engaged in fierce fighting with Islamic militants ahead of the parliamentary and provincial council elections.

The number of American deaths in the nearly four-year Afghan operation -- dubbed Enduring Freedom -- is now at more than 230.

The operation, which started a month after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, ousted the Taliban government that harbored the al Qaeda terror network responsible for those strikes.

Fighting in the country has persisted, particularly along and near the Afghan-Pakistani border, where remnants of the Taliban have endured over the years.

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