Posted by Alexander from 126.96.36.199.cfl.rr.com (188.8.131.52) on Monday, July 21, 2003 at 10:23PM :
...Yet, the taliban still stands???nooo....
I never expected THAT....
US planes strike Taliban position
The fighting started when Taliban guerrillas attacked a government checkpoint, and witnesses report seeing the bodies of at least four government soldiers
U.S. warplanes launched airstrikes on a Taliban position close to the Pakistani border at the weekend after a guerrilla attack on a government checkpoint, an official said on Sunday.
Khalid Khan Achakzai, a senior local official with the foreign ministry, said the strikes came late on Saturday night about six km (four miles) east of the border town of Spin Boldak.
He said the fighting started when Taliban guerrillas attacked a government checkpoint, and witnesses reported seeing the bodies of at least four government soldiers.
"Afghan forces retaliated and the fight continued at least five hours," Achakzai told Reuters, adding that U.S. forces had sent armored vehicles in support. "There are dead on both sides, but the number is not certain," he said.
Speaking by telephone from an unknown location, Taliban official Mullah Abdul Rauf said at least 20 government soldiers had been killed in the fighting, which involved 200 guerrillas.
"One of our comrades was also killed," he said. "The Taliban fighters later left the area."
Achakzai said the clash involved at least 75 Taliban fighters led by former minister Mullah Abdul Razzaq, commander Hafiz Abdur Rahim, and Rauf, a former provincial governor. He said the guerrillas came from the Pakistani side of the border.
US base attacked
Rauf said Taliban fighters had also attacked a U.S. base, but it was unclear how much damage had been inflicted. He said the attacks were planned in a meeting three days ago with the shadowy leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar.
An official with Pakistan's border security force, Major Shaukat, said Pakistan had beefed up security along its border after the fighting broke out.
The U.S. military, which is leading a 11,500-strong international coalition force in Afghanistan, said on Saturday that two rockets landed near a U.S. firebase at Spin Boldak on Friday night, but caused no damage or casualties.
The U.S. military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest clash, but says five coalition soldiers have been hurt since Friday in attacks elsewhere in Afghanistan.
On Friday, eight government soldiers were killed in the southeastern province of Khost in a suspected Taliban attack.
More than 100 Afghan soldiers and civilians have been killed or wounded across the south since the start of the year.
Afghan officials say most of the strikes have been organised by the Taliban and allied militants based in Pakistan, although Islamabad says it is doing its best to seal the border.
Foreign troops have been in Afghanistan since 2001, when a U.S.-led force overthrew the fundamentalist Taliban which had sheltered Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. Al-Qaeda is blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
Both bin Laden and Mullah Omar have managed to elude coalition troops and Afghan officials say Taliban units have regrouped in recent months to launch guerrilla attacks.
The government and the coalition say such attacks are not a threat to stability, but they have hampered aid work.
Spin Boldak, Afghanistan - Reuters
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