An Afghan official says a large
force of suspected Taleban militants has killed at least three security officers
and captured eight others.
The attack occurred in Zabul province, the site of intense fighting over
the past several months between insurgent forces and Afghan government troops
aided by the U.S. military.
Deputy Provincial Governor Mohammed Omar tells VOA that the attack was staged
by troops loyal to the country's former Taleban leaders, the strict Islamic
regime ousted some two years ago. He says the insurgents arrived before dawn
on Sunday, and attacked district government headquarters. Mr. Omar says one
militant was killed and two were injured.
Residents say a group of Taleban loyalists arrived in the village of Khaka-Afghan
and assembled passers by. The militants then reportedly appointed one of the
villagers to replace the local official, Haji Mulakhil. Mr. Omar says the provincial
government will by no means recognize the man selected to replace Mr. Mulakhil.
Zabul and neighboring provinces have seen insurgent attacks increase during
the past several months, but Afghan central government officials, like Interior
Minister Ali Jalali, say it is only a matter of time until the insurgents are
"How long? It depends on how soon we can actually build our national capacity
to the point where we will be able to respond to these challenges alone, and
also to the commitment of the international community," says Mr. Jalali. "And
also the cooperation of neighboring countries, particularly Pakistan, where
many of these terrorist networks have established their camps."
While Zabul shares a border with Pakistan, many of the recent attacks have
taken place on the other side of the province, near a mountain range believed
to be a stronghold of the Taleban remnants.
Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan of harboring insurgents that cross
into Afghanistan, but Pakistan has launched several initiatives to crack down
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, however, says the Pakistanis must do more
to stamp out the insurgent presence on its soil.