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Afghanistan | International

Taliban take two Afghan towns
by ALJ
Tuesday Jul 18th, 2006 6:50 AM
Taliban forces have captured two towns in southern Afghanistan.
Taliban insurgents entered Naway-i-Barakzayi, a Helmand town north of Garmser, and clashed briefly with police before the security officials fled, an Afghan police official said.

The official said Taliban forces were now moving freely around the town and district.

In the Helmand town of Garmser, close to the Pakistan border, scores of Taliban insurgents overran Afghan policemen holed up in a compound on Sunday, driving the security forces and a handful of government officials to flee, another Afghan official said.

Major Scott Lundy, a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, said: "We are in contact with lots of people to build an accurate picture of the two districts in southern Helmand which are under control of the Taliban."

Casualties

On Monday, a bomber killed three justice ministry employees after blowing himself up inside their offices in Helmand.

Three Afghan soldiers also died in a roadside bombing in the province.

In eastern Afghanistan, US-led troops killed four Arab and Chechen fighters, after raiding their hideout.

Taliban forces killed a coalition soldier and wounded 11 others in a battle on Monday in Tirin Kot, capital of Helmand's neighbouring Uruzgan province, a US statement said.

More
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D24DDE03-6A59-404E-B336-B1E1D4292B21.htm
by reposted
Tuesday Jul 18th, 2006 6:55 AM
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- U.S.-led forces will launch "decisive operations" to reclaim two southern towns captured in recent days by the Taliban, the military said Tuesday.

Scores of Taliban militants chased police out of two southern Helmand districts near the Pakistani border.

"The Taliban extremists have taken control of the areas of Garmser and Naway-i-Barakzayi, however, coalition forces do have them under observation," military spokesman Col. Tom Collins told reporters in Kabul.

"Decisive operations will begin soon," he added without saying when.

The Taliban operate freely in large areas of southern Afghanistan and police presence there often is virtually nonexistent, but insurgents only were known to have completely seized one town since their hard-line regime was toppled by U.S. forces in 2001.

More
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/07/18/afghanistan.taliban.ap/index.html