Taliban claim capture of four US troops and Offices of Afghan women rights group ransacked.

Pakistani as well as the Taliban sources on Wednesday claimed that four US soldiers had been captured by the pro-Taliban elements in Paktia province of Afghanistan on Tuesday night in an attack on a convoy in the mountainous region.

"Our fighters have captured at least four American soldiers in Birmal area of Paktia province on Tuesday night," claimed a pro-Taliban source asking not to be named. Birmal district shares borders with two tribal agencies of Pakistan, North and South Waziristan agencies.

The claim was also backed by tribal sources, living on the Pakistan side of the Pak-Afghan border, saying that the capture of the Americans was talk of Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan Agency. However, no official confirmation of the arrest of the soldiers has been made by the US so far.

The sources said US forces with the support of their Afghan allies have established several new security check posts in Birmal. "The US soldiers were patrolling in the area when came under attack. The captured Americans have been shifted to safe places," the source claimed.

Agencies adds: Ten militants armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades attacked a US-led coalition base in northeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday but there were no coalition casualties, the US military said.

"Coalition forces operating near the firebase in Barikot engaged a squad-sized element of anti-coalition soldiers this morning," Col Rodney Davis told reporters here at a ceremony to open a clinic, funded by a coalition civil-military project.

Coalition soldiers called in air support and returned fire as the militants directed small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades at their guard posts, he said. No further details were available.

Davis did not say who was responsible for the attack on Barikot, some 240 kilometres northeast of Kabul on the Pakistan border, but similar incidents have been blamed on Taliban, al-Qaeda or militants loyal to former premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Meanwhile, a US military convoy was bombed on Tuesday in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul. The explosive device blew up about 10 metres from the lead vehicle of the convoy in Muqur district, but there were no casualties or damage, Davis said.

US troops on Tuesday also seized a cache of 240 107-mm rockets near the coalition's Bagram Air Base headquarters. The rockets, which were not fused and appeared to have been stored for a long time, were voluntarily surrendered by their owner, Davis said.

Meanwhile, gunmen broke into the offices of an Afghan women's rights group, seizing confidential documents and slightly injuring a night guard, the group's leader said on Wednesday. The heavily armed men dressed in camouflage clothing climbed through a window into the offices of the independent All Afghan Women's Union, which fights for greater participation of women in Afghan society, union leader Soraya Parlika said.

The stolen paperwork included the group's membership list and information on projects. The intruders did not take telephones, computers or other items of value, Parlika said. "They were not ordinary burglars," she said, adding that police were investigating the matter.

[Source: Jang, Pakistan, 18Sep03]

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This document has been published on 21oct03 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.