Wednesday, March 22, 2006
AP: Taliban fighters killed in Afghanistan
By NOOR KHAN, Associated Press Writer -- Wednesday, 3:13 AM ET
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Afghan security forces, right, attacked a group of suspected Taliban rebels after they crossed the border from neighboring Pakistan, killing at least 15 of them, an army commander said Wednesday.
Among the dead was a midlevel Taliban commander, Mullah Shien, who for months has allegedly led several cross-border raids from secret bases on the Pakistani side of the border, said Abdul Razak, the frontier security commander. Shien's followers would regularly attack foreign and Afghan troops and bomb trucks hauling gasoline for the U.S.-led coalition, he said.
"We got a tip-off about them coming across the border. We went down there and fought them," Razak said. "We now have all the dead bodies."
Four insurgents fled back across the Pakistani border after the two-hour gunbattle late Tuesday near the border town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province, Razak said.
The fighting was the deadliest in weeks inand may further inflame a dispute between Kabul and Islamabad about militants sneaking back and forth across the two countries' 1,470-mile border, most of which is unmarked and unguarded.
Pakistan's Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed denied that Taliban militants had crossed the border from Pakistan. "It's nonsense, just another allegation. We have our security forces there who are guarding the border," he said.
Afghanistan has long demanded that Pakistan do more to crack down on militants based on its side. Islamabad has repeatedly said it's doing all it can, pointing to the 80,000 Pakistani troops in the region.
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