Dozens of Afghan soldiers, Taliban killed in militant ambush
Up to a dozen or more members of the Afghan security forces and around 30 militants were killed after militants attacked an Afghan army convoy in western Afghanistan, officials said Friday, reported dpa.
Hundreds of Taliban militants attacked a convoy of army forces in Bala Murghab district of the western province of Badghis on Thursday afternoon, said General Fazel Ahmad Sayar, army commander in the western region.
According to Sayar, seven Afghan soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the 10-hour firefight. He said NATO-led war planes hit Taliban positions in the area, killing or wounding 30 militants.
Sayar also said that the militants took hostage six Afghan soldiers, while fifteen others were missing.
Badghis Deputy Governor Abdul Ghani Saber however provided a different tally of the events, saying 13 Afghan soldiers were killed and 11 wounded.
He also said 16 army soldiers were captured by the Taliban, who for their part lost seven of their number killed in the clash.
The remoteness of the area makes independent verification of facts difficult.
In another incident, British forces opened fire on a van in eastern Kabul city on Friday afternoon, killing an Afghan boy and wounding four other civilians, officials said.
Kabul police chief General Mohammad Ayoub Salangi added that the van swerved off the road following the shooting and crashed into a local shop. He attributed the incident to a "misunderstanding."
Frequent car bomb attacks on international troops have led such soldiers to resort more readily to lethal force against any approaching vehicle.
Friday's incident triggered a demonstration by hundreds of protesters, who for two hours closed the Jalalabad road in eastern outskirts of Kabul that links the capital to eastern provinces.
A suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives on Thursday killed four Afghan civilians and wounded 20 others near the US embassy in Kabul. The attack appeared to be targeting a foreign military convoy. There were no casualties among foreign troops.
Around 1,500 civilians have been among the more than 4,000 people killed in the first eight months of this year.
In a separate incident, gunmen wearing Afghan security forces uniforms killed Mohammad Hanif, the former Taliban spokesman in Chaparhar district of the eastern province of Nangahar, said Chaparhar district chief Sayed Mohammad Pahlwan.
Pahlwan said Hanif died Thursday night along with two family members.
Hanif had been recently released after his arrest by Afghan intelligence agents two years ago.