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Afghans Burn Down Government Buildings

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    U.S. SAYS RAIDS KILLED TALIBAN; AFGHANS SAY CIVILIANS DIED Abdul Waheed Wafa, New York Times 5/1/07 http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/world/asia/01afghan.html
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2007
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      U.S. SAYS RAIDS KILLED TALIBAN; AFGHANS SAY CIVILIANS DIED
      Abdul Waheed Wafa, New York Times
      5/1/07
      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/world/asia/01afghan.html


      KABUL, Afghanistan, April 30 — United States Special Forces said they
      killed more than 130 Taliban in two recent days of heavy fighting in a
      valley in western Afghanistan, but hundreds of angry villagers
      protested in nearby Shindand on Monday, saying dozens of civilians had
      been killed when the Americans called in airstrikes.

      Skip to next paragraph
      The Reach of War
      Go to Complete Coverage » The protesters sacked and burned government
      buildings, said Noor Khan Nekzad, a spokesman for the provincial
      police. He said none of the demonstrators were injured, but news
      reports said a number of protesters were hurt as the police and the
      army moved in to subdue the crowd.

      The American military said that the fighting against the Taliban
      occurred Friday and Sunday in the Zerkoh Valley, near the Iranian
      border about 30 miles south of the city of Herat, and that the Special
      Forces called in airstrikes on at least two occasions. An American
      soldier was killed in the fighting on Friday, the military said, but
      there were no other reported casualties on the coalition side.

      Forty-nine Taliban fighters, including two leaders of the group, were
      killed in the first bombardment on Friday, and 87 militants were
      killed in bombing during a second battle on Sunday that raged for 14
      hours, the military said in a statement from the United States-led
      coalition headquarters at the Bagram air base.

      But the local residents said that civilians were killed in the
      bombardment and that some drowned in the river as they fled, according
      to a local member of Parliament, Maulavi Gul Ahmad. News agencies
      reported that demonstrators said women and children were among the dead.

      Mr. Ahmad condemned the bombing and said that the fighting angered
      local residents because the Americans raided their houses at night.

      "They should not do that," he said in a telephone interview. "The
      number that they claim — that 130 Taliban were killed — is totally
      wrong. There are no Taliban there."

      Raiding houses touches a nerve in Afghanistan, especially in
      conservative tribal areas, because the local custom dictates that men
      who are not family members cannot enter the parts of homes where the
      women stay. Such raids were upsetting local sensibilities so much
      several years ago that the American forces made an agreement with the
      Afghan government that they would not raid houses without the presence
      of Afghan elders or the police. The Afghan Independent Human Rights
      Commission says that the agreement is still in effect, but that
      American troops do not always adhere to it.

      But an Afghan military official, who asked not to be identified,
      presented a different version of events from that of Mr. Ahmad. He
      said that the Special Forces had run into trouble on Friday, when they
      were surrounded by insurgents, and that they requested support from
      the Afghan National Army.

      Afghan Army and police officials denied any involvement in the fighting.

      The province of Herat, where the fighting occurred, is usually quiet,
      but the Zerkoh Valley is populated by ethnic Pashtuns and shares a
      border with provinces where there are many insurgents.

      A Vow to Cooperate

      ANKARA, Turkey, April 30 (Reuters) — The president of Pakistan, Gen.
      Pervez Musharraf, and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan vowed
      Monday to work together to fight terrorism and improve bilateral ties
      after a war of words over the Taliban insurgency.

      For the past year, the United States has pressed Mr. Karzai and
      General Musharraf to cooperate, but relations have remained strained.

      In a joint statement after talks held in Turkey, the leaders said they
      agreed to deny sanctuary, training and financing to terrorists. In an
      interview with NTV of Turkey, General Musharraf said no details had
      been discussed yet.

      Afghanistan has said the Taliban are being run from Pakistan, which
      Islamabad denies. Pakistan maintains that the roots of the insurgency
      lie in Afghanistan and in problems with Mr. Karzai's government.

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