British soldier killed in Afghanistan: MoD

A British soldier was killed new bloodshed in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday, in the latest attacks of a growing battle between insurgents and troops.

The soldier was killed in a bomb blast on Tuesday in the southern province of Helmand, the MoD said.

He had been serving with a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force which reported earlier that another of its soldiers, a US national, was killed in another bomb blast on Tuesday in the eastern province of Paktya.

Fighting has escalated across Afghanistan, where at least a dozen people, including insurgents, have been reported killed almost daily in past weeks.

The violence has raised concerns about stability ahead of key presidential and provincial elections on August 20 for which Western countries have pledged thousands more troops.

The Taliban were in government from 1996 until 2001, when they were removed by a US-led invasion for sheltering Al-Qaeda after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The extremists were able to regroup, some in sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan, to launch an insurgency that was its deadliest last year with around 2,200 civilians killed along with 5,000 militants, according to various estimates.

A Siberian tiger cub is seen with its mother at a zoo in China. REUTERS/China Daily