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UPDATED: 10:29, September 28, 2006
Taliban accuses Australian troops of killing civilians
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A Taliban leader has accused Australian troops of killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan, according to a local media report Thursday.

The accusation was from Mullah Mohammad, a Taliban commander in the southern province of Oruzgan, during an interview recorded by an Afghan reporter on behalf of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio.

Mahammad claimed to have up to 6,000 men ready to fight Australian troops in Oruzgan province alone, ABC radio reported.

He accused the Australian troops of killing innocent civilians during recent fighting in the Chora district, not far from Camp Holland, where the Australian troops will be based for the next two years.

He said a lot of civilian villagers but very few Taliban fighters were killed.

"They caused a lot of damage and killed a lot of villagers, ordinary people, the Taliban didn't receive a lot of casualties," he said.

Mohammad's statements came just one day after Australian Defense Department revealed details of hard fought battles by a composite special forces battle group comprising mostly commandos and Special Air Service operatives deployed on active service for 395 days to Oruzgan province.

Michael Hindmarsh, commander of Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan, on Wednesday praised the brave action of Australian troops during the recent battle involving 500 coalition forces in Oruzgan province.

Source: Xinhua

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