Five Polish soldiers killed by Afghanistan bomb

Isaf soldiers in Ghazni, Afghanistan (21 Dec 2011)
Image caption The soldiers were part of a reconstruction team in Ghazni province

A roadside bomb has killed five Polish soldiers in a Nato convoy in eastern Afghanistan, Poland's heaviest single loss of life since the mission began.

Polish media said the soldiers were a few miles from their base in Ghazni province when the bomb exploded.

Three soldiers died at the scene. Another two were said to have died of their wounds at a military hospital.

Poland has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan who are responsible for handling security in Ghazni.

The soldiers were part of a provincial reconstruction team, according to Polish reports, who were in an all-terrain M-ATV vehicle.

A witness in the Rawza area of Ghazni told AFP news agency that their vehicle had been completely destroyed.

The soldiers had been part of a convoy of around 30 vehicles which was heading to the opening of a mausoleum, described by Polish media as one of the projects the reconstruction team had funded.

The Taliban said it carried out the attack.

In the nine years that Polish forces have taken part in the Nato-led mission in Afghanistan, 36 have been killed. But Wednesday's attack was the bloodiest they have suffered since their arrival in March 2002.

Polish troops, in common with other Nato forces, are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Although Nato did not reveal their nationality, it confirmed that "five International Security Assistance Force service members died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan".

So far this year, 532 people serving with the Nato-led forces have died.