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Nearly 100 Taliban, governor killed on eve of 9/11 anniversary
Cat : Afghanistan
Date : 2006-09-10 18:35:04                      Reader : 295

They kill civilians, destroy their houses, and as a result, the relatives of victims who stay alive join the resistance factions.
We believe without UN intervention with peace forces, instead of colonizing troops, peace will never be attained in Afghanistan.

Associated France Press 10/9/2006

Nearly 100 Taliban, governor killed on eve of 9/11 anniversary

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) - NATO and Afghan troops killed 94 Taliban rebels in a major insurgent stronghold in southern Afghanistan while a respected provincial governor died in a suicide blast.

The violence underscored the precarious situation in Afghanistan on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks -- the atrocity that prompted the toppling of the fundamentalist Taliban.

The insurgents died during Operation Medusa, which was launched on September 2 and is the biggest anti-Taliban offensive involving NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The fierce battles take to over 450 the number of rebels killed in the operation focussed on the Panjwayi district which is 35 kilometres (19 miles) west of the Taliban birthplace of Kandahar.

"In the past nine days the ISAF and Afghan operation has struck hard at the insurgents' heartland," ISAF spokesman Major Luke Knittig told a news conference in Kabul.

The 94 Taliban were killed and one was wounded in four different engagements in the area from late Saturday until around dawn on Sunday, he said.

The force also inflicted "severe losses" in separate artillery and air strikes on rebels who were spotted gathering for a counterattack, the force said in a statement. The number of casualties was still being determined.

Panjwayi district is one of the most entrenched Taliban hotspots in Afghanistan and has seen several deadly attacks on foreign troops and civilians.

Medusa is the biggest operation in the south since ISAF took over the area on July 31 from a US-led coalition that had driven the Taliban from power in 2001.

There was no indication when it would end, NATO spokesman Mark Laity told the news conference. "When we are happy we have achieved our objectives, we will stop," he said.

One of the key tasks of the offensive is to stop more Taliban infiltrating the area where some 700 rebels were initially assessed as hiding out, said another ISAF spokesman, Major Quentin Innis.

"They are infiltrating from the west and southwest (restive Helmand province)," he said, adding: "We are indicting a fair amount."

NATO said its forces had "also successfully disrupted insurgent re-supply routes around the area".

Meanwhile Hakim Taniwal, the governor of Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan, his nephew and chief bodyguard were killed Sunday in a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban.

Taniwal, in his 60s, was a former sociology professor who previously lived in exile in Melbourne, Australia. He had also served as minister in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The bomber had been waiting outside the gates of Taniwal's office and blew himself up as the group left the building, interior ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanizai said.

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Hanif said one of the movement's fighters had carried out the attack, which follows several assassination attempts on other provincial governors.

In further violence linked to the ousted regime, two policemen were killed when dozens of Taliban rebels attacked their post in western Farah province with machineguns and rockets on Saturday, a police commander said.

Police in the capital Kabul meanwhile discovered and defused three remote-controlled bombs hidden at a traffic roundabout Sunday.

The city was struck by one of its worst suicide blasts on Friday when a bomb-filled car was rammed into a US military vehicle killing two US soldiers and 14 Afghans.

The Taliban insurgency has surged this year despite half a decade of international efforts to rebuild the shattered country, which Osama bin Laden used as a base from which to coordinate the 9/11 attacks.

There are about 10,000 mainly British, Canadian and Dutch troops in the south facing what British commanders have said is the most intense fighting their forces have experienced in decades and which is worse on a daily basis than that in Iraq.

NATO military chiefs are calling on their member states to send more men and equipment to Afghanistan, saying that they are currently at about 85 percent of requirements.

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