Taliban commander, four civilians killed in Afghan violence

July 26th, 2008 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, July 26 (DPA) Two rebels including a top Taliban commander have been killed in Afghanistan by government troops, said officials here Saturday. The interior ministry said Taliban commander Mullah Usman was killed during an operation conducted by Afghan forces in Kalafgan district of northern Takhar province late Friday.

“Mullah Usman was killed when militants under his command attacked a police checkpoint in Kalafgan district last night,” the ministry said.

It said Usman’s body was with police in a local hospital and he was the most senior Taliban commander in the north-east region. Taliban rebels had no immediate comment.

In another incident, a militant was killed and explosive devices were neutralised Friday during a coalition forces operation in Kapisa province, said a US military statement Saturday.

“Coalition forces searched several compounds in Tagab district targeting a militant suspected of facilitating foreign-fighter operations in the area,” it added.

During the search, an armed militant threatened coalition forces, who responded with small-arms fire, killing the militant, it said.

Meanwhile, soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) shot dead four civilians and injured three in the southern province of Helmand Saturday, the NATO-led force reported.

According to the report, the soldiers feared an insurgent attack after a vehicle’s driver did not stop despite directions to do so and the firing of warning shots as he approached an ISAF-controlled checkpoint.

ISAF said it deeply regretted this “unnecessary incident,” which ISAF blamed on the driver’s carelessness. The force added that the incident would be investigated.

Civilian deaths by foreign troops have caused increased resentment among the general population. Both the Afghan government and the UN have several times called for greater caution from international troops.

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