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Afghan advancing troops continue to crash Taliban insurgents
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08:00, December 18, 2007

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The advancing Afghan troops backed by foreign forces have been pushing ahead to eliminate Taliban militants in the volatile southern region as they have killed scores of rebels over the past two weeks.

In a latest anti-militants strike, Afghan and foreign forces killed 20 rebels in restive Jalai district of troubled Kandahar province on Sunday, said an interior ministry statement issued here Monday.

Nine more insurgents were wounded and four others made captive during the operation, it said, adding that the security personnel also recovered a weapon cache and four motorbikes.

The clean up operation against militants began Thursday in the district and was concluded Sunday, provincial police chief Syed Aqa Saqib told Xinhua.

Kandahar, a known Taliban birthplace, and the neighboring provinces of Zabul, Helmand and Uruzgan in southern Afghanistan has been the scene of increasing Taliban-led insurgency over the past few years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Five members of a family including a couple and their three children were killed when a roadside bomb struck their motorbike in Uruzgan provincial capital of Trinkot on Monday morning, provincial police chief Juma Gul Humat said.

In a related violence, Afghan security personnel stationed at Kabul International Airport shot dead a civilian on the suspicion of being a terrorist on Monday morning when the man ignored warnings to stop and continued to approach the airport premises.

Taliban insurgents who have vowed to topple the Afghan government and evict international troops from the post-Taliban central Asian state have often carried out roadside bombing and suicide blast attacks.

Southern Afghanistan witnessed rising violence since the eviction of Taliban insurgents from the strategically important Musa Qala district in Helmand province early last week.

More than 100 of the rebels, according to Afghanistan Defense Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi, had been killed and injured during the operation for regaining Musa Qala.

To mount pressure on government troops, Taliban raided police checkpoints in Musa Qala's neighboring Sangin district inflicting huge casualties, according to the outfit's purported spokesman.

However, Afghan defense ministry rejected the claim and saying over 50 insurgents lost their lives in battle for the control of Sangin district.

Militants in a new wave of insurgency to avenge their defeat inMusa Qala have apparently focused their gun towards capital city Kabul, analysts say.

On Saturday the Taliban insurgents carried out a bomb attack against the Kabul police chief center killing five civilians and injuring five others including two policemen. Moreover, they designed a suicide car bomb attack in the capital city on the same day but intelligence service foiled it.

"Carrying out suicide attacks is a sign of Taliban weakness as they are not able to confront the troops," Carlos Branco, a spokesman for NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, told reporters here last week.

The NATO-backed Afghan troops have been continuing their operations against Taliban fighters in the southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan since long to ensure durable stability there.

Addressing a press conference here last week, Afghan defense ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi noted, "We would continue our operations against Taliban insurgents in the winter in order to crash their ability to create security problems in next spring."

Source: Xinhua

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