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Taliban Makes Strategic Advance

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    Afghanis, NATO kill 50 Taliban November 01, 2007 http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22683973-12335,00.html AFGHAN and NATO-led troops have
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2007
      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,
      he said.

      "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
      Landry said.

      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
      this year.


      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."

      Towards Kandahar

      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
      international forces."

      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,
      Sarjang said.

      "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
      year ago.

      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
      Andiwal said.




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