Seven policemen, 24 Taliban killed in Afghanistan

August 7th, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
Kabul, Aug 7 (DPA) Seven Afghan policemen and 24 Taliban fighters were killed in a series of clashes in Afghanistan, officials said Thursday. Seven police officers were killed when Taliban attacked their post in Safian village in Lashkargah, the capital of the southern Helmand province, Wednesday night, Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said.

The spokesman added that they suspected a policeman, who went missing after the attack, to have had connections with Taliban militants as the officers died without showing any signs of resistance.

Ten Taliban fighters were killed Wednesday in the Marja district of Helmand during an operation by Afghan security forces, backed by international troops.

Afghan security forces also killed eight Taliban rebels and wounded seven in an operation in the Zherai district of the southern Kandahar province Wednesday, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The militants were killed in a day-long operation aimed at driving the insurgents out of the area, the statement said, but did not say if there were any casualties among the Afghan forces.

In another incident, Taliban insurgents in the province Badghis in western Afghanistan attacked a convoy transporting supplies to NATO bases in the province, police spokesman Abdul Raouf Ahmadi said.

He said the security guards of the convoy fought back and killed six attackers.

Attacks by Taliban rebels, who lost power in late 2001 in a US military invasion, have been on the rise in the country. So far more than 2,600 people - mostly insurgents - have died in the violence.

In a separate development, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Thursday that a big number of French troops have been deployed to southern province of Uruzgan to train and mentor Afghan security forces.

The soldiers travelled in a 94-vehicle-convoy from Kandahar province to Uruzgan, making it the largest ground military convoy in the region in years, ISAF said in a statement.

The statement did not provide the exact number of the deployed French force. France has around 1,500 soldiers in the country as part of more than 50,000 NATO-led ISAF troops.

The French government also announced the deployment of 700 additional troops to the country by the end of this year to help other alliance soldiers contain the resurgent Taliban.

Meanwhile, an unmanned ISAF aircraft crashed in the southeastern province of Paktika Thursday, the alliance said.

“The aircraft, a Shadow reconnaissance vehicle, was unarmed and the wreckage has been located,” it said, adding, “It landed on open ground without making contact with people or property.”

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