Former official, 19 Taliban fighters killed in Afghanistan


Kabul : An Afghan provincial official said that US forces killed a former police officer in central Logar province, while 19 Taliban fighters were killed in two separate clashes elsewhere in the country, officials said Saturday.

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Ahmad Khan, former director of traffic in Logar province, was killed in his house in Zarghonshar area of Mohammad Agha district Friday night, a spokesman for the provincial governor said.

The US troops detained Khan’s two sons and his brother after shooting him dead in front of his family, he said.

“The coalition forces claimed that Ahmad Khan had connection with anti-government elements, but our district governor and other people in the area said he was not involved in any activities against the government,” Darwish said.

The US military was not available for comment.

In another incident, Afghan forces backed by international troops killed 15 suspected Taliban militants in Charchino district of southern Uruzgan province in an operation that started on Friday afternoon and was still ongoing, Juma Gul Hemat, provincial police chief said.

The militants had escaped from an ongoing operation in the neighbouring Helmand province, Hemat said, adding that eight bodies of the militants were still on the battleground.

Nearly 5,000 Afghan and the US military forces are conducting a major offensive against Taliban rebels in Helmand province since July 2.

Helmand is the most volatile province in the southern region. Eight British soldiers were killed in the province in the past 24 hours, and 15 within 10 days. The total British death toll in the country since 2001 reached 184 troops, surpassing the 179 killed in Iraq since in 2003.

Meanwhile, Afghan police forces killed four Taliban fighters, including one of their commanders, Mullah Fedayee, and wounded five others in a clash in Gerdab area of northern Baghlan province on Friday night, Jaweed Basharat, spokesman for the police forces in the province said.

The clash erupted after the militants attacked a police post, he said, adding that two policemen were wounded in the attack.

Northern provinces used to be the most peaceful region in the country in the past eight years since the ouster of Taliban regime, but the region has witnessed a sharp surge in rebel attacks in recent months.

The latest attacks have raised concerns among the population that the insurgents have extended their battlegrounds from their traditional hub of activities in southern and eastern regions to the north.