Six police, guards killed in new Afghan attacks

AFP – New attacks in Afghanistan left six policemen and guards dead Wednesday while the US-led coalition said soldiers had killed six Taliban, although a local insisted they were civilians.

In one of the attacks, similar to those carried out regularly by Taliban insurgents, four highway policemen were killed in the south when a bomb exploded underneath their vehicle, the Uruzgan province police chief said.

Another policeman was wounded, Mohammad Qassem told AFP.

In the adjoining province of Helmand, a bomb struck Afghan guards with the US private security firm USPI, killing two of them, according to a commander in the group named Rahmatullah. Another was wounded, he said.

Four USPI guards were killed in a similar bombing in the southern city of Kandahar nearly two weeks ago.

In the eastern province of Nangarhar meanwhile the US-led coalition said its soldiers and Afghan troops killed six Taliban fighters in an early morning raid. A villager said the six were all civilians.

The soldiers went to a compound in mountains west of Jalalabad city after receiving intelligence that it was “suspected of housing local Taliban fighters,” the coalition said in a statement.

As they arrived, they were shot at and returned fire. “The brief firefight resulted in six enemy fighters killed and one slightly injured, with no injuries to civilians or coalition forces,” the statement said.

Four were detained for questioning, it said.

A man from Banga Shir village, where the raid took place, gave a similar toll but said none of the people involved had links to the Taliban.

“Six people have been killed, three captured and six to seven others have been wounded,” the villager, Abdul Ghafoor, told AFP by telephone.

“They were civilians and had no links to Taliban or others. They are just innocent civilians,” he said.

Nangarhar has seen several incidents in the past months in which coalition forces said they had killed rebel fighters while residents insisted they were ordinary villagers.

The Taliban were in government for five years until late 2001 when they were driven from power by the coalition for not handing over their Al-Qaeda allies following the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

They now lead a spreading insurgency despite the efforts of the coalition, Afghan security forces and a separate NATO-led deployment of about 37,000 soldiers in the country.

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