Security Forces Kill Seven Terrorists in Afghanistan
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Security forces killed seven militants and captured a former Taliban official, while insurgents obstructed the distribution of emergency aid to thousands of flood-hit villagers in southeastern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.
U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces clashed Tuesday with Taliban militants in the Andar district of flood-struck Ghazni province, leaving four militants killed, two police officials said on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to speak to media.
A U.S. military spokesman had no immediate information about the incident.
In southern Helmand province _ the focus of a recent upsurge in Taliban attacks _ police killed two Taliban late Monday after coming under attack, provincial police chief Ghulam Nabi Malakhail said.
In eastern Paktika province, around 50 Taliban sneaked in from Pakistan and traded heavy machine gun fire with Afghan police late Monday, said Sayyed Jamal, spokesman for the provincial governor. One militant was killed, he said.
Also in Paktika, police arrested Mullah Akhtar Mohammad, a former Taliban director of refugee affairs, along with five other men fleeing from Helmand overnight, Jamal said. One of the men was wounded, he said.
In the north of Helmand province, British troops accidentally shot and killed an armed Afghan policeman wearing civilian clothes after mistaking him for an insurgent outside a base in Musa Qula on Tuesday, a British Ministry of Defense spokesman said, speaking on condition in keeping with department policy.
More than 900 people have died in violence across Afghanistan since May, most militants. The violence, the deadliest since the Taliban regime’s ouster in late 2001, has underscored the weak grip of the government of U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai, particularly in the volatile south and east of the country.
The presence of Taliban rebels also has hampered fearful local officials from responding to the flooding in Ghazni that killed at least three people and destroyed an estimated 1,600 homes last Friday.
A Ghazni resident said the Taliban control flooded areas, patrolling on motorcycles and intimidating officials. The resident spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to antagonize local authorities.
“If they get 100 security forces to go with them, it will be possible to enter the area. Otherwise they cannot go or they will be attacked by Taliban,” he said.
The government is resorting to an informal network of private groups and local residents to survey the damage and compile lists of the needy, said Abdul Rahim Zareen, spokesman for the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry.
Food and supplies for 157 families had been distributed as of Tuesday, four days after the flood, said U.N. spokesman Aleem Siddique.
The U.S. military also plans to deliver enough aid to shelter and feed 9,000 of the flood victims, a U.S. military statement said.
A spokesman for Karzai, Karim Rahimi, said Nangarhar, Khost, Paktika and Paktia provinces also suffered under heavy rains. He said the government had distributed 40 tons of medical items to the affected areas.
Officials in Ghazni did not confirm the arrival of any medicine there.