Taleban striking back
About 200 Taleban fighters attacked a district government headquarters in south-eastern Afghanistan, killing three soldiers, a day after militants killed six troops in the same area, police said yesterday.
Sunday night's attack in Paktika province was the latest in a wave of violence that has swept Afghanistan in the past week, fuelling fears of a resurgent Taleban movement operating from the porous border region with Pakistan.
"They burnt down the building completely," said Dawlat Khan, a provincial police chief.
"They apparently killed three soldiers and took four others with them." A force of Taleban 200 strong was reported to have fled back to Pakistan, he said.
The attack happened near Barmal, where suspected Taleban guerrillas killed at least six police troopers on Saturday before escaping into Pakistan.
Last week was one of the bloodiest since the Taleban was overthrown by a US-backed military coalition in late 2001.
At least 65 people were killed in Afghanistan early last week, in violence that included a bus bombing and the ambush of a local aid group. Yesterday the United Nations High Commission for Refugees warned that the lack of security was hindering the return of refugees.
Mr Khan alleged the raids were organised in Pakistan, and said Pakistani border forces "do not stop them".
Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have soured amid accusations by Kabul that Pakistan is allowing, or even helping, the Taleban and other groups to launch attacks on Afghan soil. Pakistan, the main backer of the Taleban until the 11 September attacks, has denied the claim.
[Source: Sayed Salahuddin in Kabul, The Scotsman, August 19, 2003]
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