First SVBIED - Helmand, 2 injured.


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A suicide car-bomber rammed a vehicle leaving a British military base in Afghanistan on Friday in the first suicide attack aimed at British forces stationed in the volatile south, police said.

Two British soldiers were wounded in the blast just outside the British base in Lashkar Ghar, capital of the southern province of Helmand, said provincial police chief Abdur Rahman.

The suicide bomber was killed, he said.

British forces are spearheading an expansion of a NATO-led peacekeeping force into the Afghan south, as the United States prepares to trim its force in Afghanistan and hand over responsibilities to fellow NATO members.

British soldiers have been arriving in Lashkar Ghar over recent weeks to prepare for a full deployment of 3,300 troops in the province, which is also Afghanistan's main opium-growing region.

Taliban insurgents fighting to expel foreign troops and overthrow the Western-backed government have unleashed a wave of violence in recent weeks, including attacks on military bases, ambushes and roadside and suicide bombings.

A British military spokesman said he had no immediate information about the attack.

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