Roadside bomb kills six in southern Afghanistan
Six people were killed in roadside blast in southern Afghanistan Saturday, but conflicting versions differed on whether the victims were civilians or combatants, DPA reported.
The Interior Ministry said that all six killed were civilians, while a police official in the region said five pro-government militia troops were killed.
The ministry said civilians were travelling in Nechin area of Tarin Kot, the capital of the province of Uruzgan, when their vehicle was struck by an explosion. One other person was injured, it said.
However, a local police official who requested anonymity said a mine blew up the vehicle of a militia group, killing five fighters and injuring another.
Following the blast, other militia forces in the convoy shot and killed a man near the attack site, he said.
"They thought the man had detonated the roadside bomb with a remote-control device, and at this moment we can not say if he was a militant or a civilian who just happened to be in the area," he said.
Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousif Ahmadi, speaking from an undisclosed location, said seven militiamen were killed by the mine planted by rebel fighters.
Supported by US military, the government has re-established militias in several parts of Afghanistan to fight Taliban insurgents.
The militias are infamous in Afghanistan due to their role in the 1990s civil war that followed the defeat of a communist-backed regime in Kabul. The groups that fought Soviet troops in 1980s later vied for power and plunged the country into a bloody sectarian war.
Afghan and US officials have said the militias would be used temporarily and be kept on a tight leash until army and police forces grow large enough to take the security responsibilities. The number of army and police are projected to reach 300,000 by mid-2011.