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Taleban Kill Five Afghan Cops, Three ‘US Spies’
GHAZNI, Afghanistan, 8 April 2005 — Taleban fighters killed five policemen in southern Afghanistan, the latest in a spate of attacks, residents and a foreign security source said yesterday.
The policemen were killed in a firefight on Wednesday on a main road in the Nawarak area of Zabul province, they said. The raiders, who were believed to be Taleban members, blocked the road for several hours before fleeing, residents said.
Zabul police and government officials were not available for comment. An official in neighboring Ghazni province confirmed a clash but did not have details.
Taleban fighters also killed at least three Afghans they claimed were spying for the United States, officials and reports said.
Jan Mohammad Khan, governor of central Uruzgan province, confirmed that three people were killed in Charchino district on Wednesday. “They were innocent civilians,” he told AFP.
However the Taleban said it had killed a total of six people and said they were allegedly spying for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, according to a report by the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press.
Taleban fighters have launched a rash of attacks in recent weeks after a lull over the winter.
Dozens of Taleban fighters besieged a district headquarters in Deshu, in the southern province of Helmand, last Saturday and killed three policemen.
Four US soldiers were killed in late March when their vehicle hit a mine 40 km south of Kabul.
Meanwhile, a search and recovery operation was under way yesterday to find the bodies of two missing US servicemen after the worst American military helicopter crash in Afghanistan left at least 16 people dead.
Thirteen of the confirmed fatalities on the Chinook were members of the US military while three others were civilians employed by US government contractors, US military spokesman Lt. Cindy Moore said.
She would not confirm the nationalities of the three civilians, but a Western security source said on condition of anonymity that all the victims were Americans.
Two US service members who were listed on the flight manifest were missing, presumed dead, Moore added. There were no survivors at the crash site in Ghazni province, around 100 kilometers south of the capital Kabul.
The US blamed bad weather and said the crash had been an accident. “There was no indication of hostile fire,” Moore said.
However, the Taleban militia, which continues to wage a resistance in the war-torn country, later said it had shot down the helicopter. There was no way to independently verify the claim.