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A suicide car bomber struck Afghan troops outside an army base in the southern Helmand province on Sunday, killing at least two of them in an attack claimed by the Taliban.

Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand, said four other soldiers were wounded in the attack in the Nad Ali district. He said the large explosion could be heard from far away, and that the toll could rise.

A district official said the toll was far higher, with 17 soldiers killed and 21 wounded. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media, said the bomber struck as a convoy of troops was leaving the base.

The Taliban, who control several districts in Helmand, claimed the attack.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the head of security for a bank branch in the southern Uruzgan province opened fire inside the bank, killing four people and wounding two before being arrested, said Dost Mohammad Nayab, spokesman for the provincial governor. He said the motive of the attack was not known.

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