Taliban Makes Strategic Advance
- Afghanis, NATO kill 50 "Taliban"
November 01, 2007
AFGHAN and NATO-led troops have killed some 50 Taliban fighters and
surrounded up to 250 more close to the main southern city of Kandahar,
the provincial police chief said overnight.
Clashes also broke out in the east, west and north of the country and
insurgents massed in unusually large numbers in at least one other
region in an apparent surge in violence ahead of the usual winter lull
at the end of the "fighting season".
Taliban fighters moved into the Arghandab district, only some 12km
from Kandahar, last week after a pro-government tribal leader who held
the area died of a heart attack two weeks ago leaving the northern
approach to Kandahar exposed.
Afghan army and troops from the NATO-led International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) launched an operation this week to wrest back
control of the area, local officials said.
Some 50 Taliban have been killed around Arghandab since Tuesday and at
least 25 wounded, said Kandahar police chief Sayed Agha Saqib. But
some 200 to 250 Taliban insurgents remain there.
"The rest of the Taliban are surrounded and they cannot escape or be
reinforced," he said.
Three Afghan police and one Afghan army soldier have also been killed,
"We think they are going for the city of Kandahar," Canadian Major
Eric Landry said in the city, the de-facto capital when the Taliban
ruled from 1996 to 2001.
"What they're doing is by surrounding the district centres, they are
trying to affect the governance of those districts. By doing so,
they're trying to get more freedom of movement in the Arghandab
district and maybe try to get to the city," he said.
But Kandahar, said Major Landry, "is not under any threat at the moment".
It was one of the most organised Taliban attempts to take over a
district centre, he said.
"We have sights of groups of 10 to 15 insurgents in different places
and they are trying to do synchronised attacks. Because they are in
small number and are very divided, they are very ineffective," Major
The sound of loud explosions could be heard from the small town of
Arghandab and at least 20 trucks and tractors carried villagers away
from the fighting with their belongings.
Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf said insurgents had captured
seven checkpoints around Arghandab and inflicted large numbers of
casualties on Afghan and foreign troops.
ISAF said it had not suffered any casualties.
Mainly Canadian forces around Kandahar have been engaged in months of
heavy fighting mainly to the west of city. But the death of tribal
leader Mullah Naqib two weeks ago left a gap in their defences,
security analysts said.
Canadian forces denied they were stretched too thin and short of troops.
"The fact that Mullah Naqib is dead led the insurgents to believe they
would get more freedom of movement in the district, but that's not the
case," said Major Landry.
In the western province of Farah, Afghan and foreign forces killed
more than 50 Taliban in two days of fighting after insurgents overran
the district centre of Gulistan.
"There are about 400 Taliban fighters resisting us in the district,"
Ikramuddin Yawar, the police commander of western Afghanistan, said.
Nine relatives of the Gulistan district chief were killed by the
Taliban, his house set on fire and the district chief Qasim Majboor
fled the area to the mountains, a close relative said.
Sixteen Afghan police have been killed in the fighting, said an Afghan
official who declined to be named.
Elsewhere, US-led coalition forces killed some 30 Taliban in an
airstrike in the Gilan district of Ghazni province yesterday,
Mahbubullah Mazlum, the district chief said.
The US military said "several" insurgents had been killed in the area,
southwest of the capital Kabul, after coalition troops came under fire
during a search operation yesterday.
After their heavy defeat in late 2001, the Taliban quietly regrouped
as US political and military leaders turned their attention to Iraq,
security analysts say, and relaunched their insurgency two years ago.
The last two years have been the bloodiest in Afghanistan since 2001,
with some 7000 people killed.
30 killed as heavy fighting continues over district's control in
occupied W Afghanistan
KABUL, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Heavy fighting between government
troops and Taliban insurgents has been continuing over the control of
a district in Afghanistan's western Farah province for the past two
days and so far 30 militants have been killed, police said Wednesday.
"Since Tuesday 30 rebels including their commanders Mullah Azizand
Mullah Ghafar have been killed in Gilistan district," a police
spokesman in Farah province, Mohammad Gul, told Xinhua.
Gul said a number of police and civilians have also been killed in
the conflict but could not give the exact figure.
He moreover confirmed that the clash has been concentrated over
the headquarters of Gilistan district.
To dislodge the militants, he said the government had sent
reinforcement to the area.
Some 400 Taliban fighters are said to have been fighting for the
capture of Gilistan.
Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, a purported spokesman for the Taliban fighters,
said that the militants captured Gilistan district Tuesday but the
spokesman of police in Farah province rejected the claim as baseless.
Gul also expressed hope that the government troops with the
support of NATO and the U.S.-led Coalition forces would soon dislodge
the Taliban and re-establish control over the district.
Around 5,400 people have been killed in Afghan conflicts so far
Taliban claims strategic advance
Residents told Al Jazeera that casualties of the conflict are higher
than official counts
The Taliban says it has control of three-quarters of strategically
valuable land near Kandahar, a city seen as the group's former stronghold.
The Taliban told Al Jazeera that it had been fighting international
forces, and that a major battle was under way on Wednesday.
There had been 24 hours of heavy fighting.
A provincial police chief said that Afghan and Nato forces had killed
50 fighters in three days of clashes. Residents of the area say the
casualties are higher.
At least four Afghan security officers have also been killed. Aerial
bombardments continued on Wednesday.
Ismail, who lives in the Arghandab district, north of Kandahar, said:
"The fighting is still going on with the Taliban. We've all left our
places ... but maybe there are a few people left behind."
Qari Mohammad Yousuf, a Taliban spokesman, said fighters had captured
seven checkpoints around Arghandab.
Al Jazeera's Hamish MacDonald in Kabul says that the Taliban claims to
control three-quarters of Arghandab, a district close to Kandahar.
Al Jazeera aired exclusive video of the
ongoing battle in Kandahar province
He said: "Control of this area would put the Taliban within striking
distance of Kandahar, southern Afghanistan's largest city.
"The city, however, is a major base for the US military and at this
stage it is clear the Taliban would struggle to drive out the
It is the first time since 2001 that Taliban fighters have been able
to control the area.
On Tuesday, US-led multinational troops and Afghan forces killed
several Taliban fighters, the US military said.
The fighters were killed in Ghazni province, southwest of the capital,
Kabul, after they came under fire while conducting a search operation.
Another Fifty Taliban killed in occupied western Afghanistan: police:
Thu Nov 1, 3:43 PM ET
HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) - Afghan forces said Thursday they had killed
50 more Taliban militants in the heaviest fighting in a western
province since the fall of the Islamist regime in 2001.
An operation by local and NATO troops to retake a district in the
increasingly troubled Farah province from the hardline rebels entered
its third day, provincial police spokesman Mohammad Gul Sarjang said.
"The fighting is still ongoing in Gulistan district. We killed 20 more
Taliban since yesterday," Sarjang said. "Five soldiers and seven
police have also been killed so far."
On Wednesday Afghan police said up to 40 Taliban militants were killed
and 20 wounded.
"There is fighting going on to retake the district, but I cannot
confirm any casualties at this stage," defence ministry spokesman
Mohammad Zahir Azimi said Thursday.
The Taliban dispute the casualty figures and maintain they are in
control of the district.
The Islamist insurgents also attacked another district of Farah on
Wednesday night, sparking a six-hour fight with security forces,
"Taliban attacked Bakwa district last night. Thirty Taliban were
killed in six hours of fighting, two police were wounded," Sarjang said.
Azimi later said the fighting had ended but he could not confirm the toll.
The figures could not be independently confirmed and the interior
ministry was not immediately available for comment.
Taliban militants have taken over several districts in Afghanistan for
brief periods of time but have kept control of only one, Musa Qala
district in southern Helmand province, which they captured almost a
Rebels attacked a police post in Helmand's Nadali district Thursday,
killing five policemen and wounding two others, police said.
"Five police are martyred and three have been wounded in the Taliban
attack," provincial police chief Mohammad Hussain Andiwal told AFP.
Helmand, Afghanistan's biggest opium-growing region, borders Farah and
hundreds of militants from the province have crossed over into
Gulistan district during the current bout of fighting.
Separately police were carrying out follow-up operations in the
southern district of Arghandab, close to the former Taliban base of
Kandahar, where they said on Wednesday they had surrounded more than
200 militants and killed 50.
"Since yesterday there has not been any direct fighting in Arghandab
district," provincial police chief Sayed Aqa Saqib told AFP.
"We are carrying out our clean-up operations. We have not faced any
resistance so far."
Meanwhile US-led coalition forces killed three civilians, including
two children and a 75-year-old man, in a raid on a house in the
eastern province of Nangarhar, local police said.
The coalition confirmed that two children had died in the incident but
said that the third person killed was a Taliban militant who
barricaded himself in a room with his family.
"While resisting multiple requests to surrender, the militant
barricaded himself in a room. Unbeknownst to Afghan forces his family
was barricaded in the room with him," the coalition said.
Civilian casualties from the US-led coalition and NATO-led troops in
Afghanistan have come under sharp criticism from Afghans.
Some 55,000 foreign troops are deployed in Afghanistan to fight a
growing insurgency by the Taliban, whose hardline Islamist regime was
ousted in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
5 policemen killed, 3 others wounded in S Afghanistan battle :
A group of Taliban insurgents attacked one police post early Thursday
in southern Afghan province of Helmand, killing five policemen and
injuring three others, provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein
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