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Monday, June 19, 2006

Taliban attacks kill 30 in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP)- Taliban fighters ambushed two convoys carrying members of the same family in southern Afghanistan, killing 30 people, relatives and officials said Monday.

In another clash, Afghan and coalition soldiers killed seven militants in the southern province of Uruzgan, where a large-scale anti-Taliban offensive is under way, an Afghan official said.

The first convoy attack, initially reported Sunday, was on vehicles carrying a former district chief in Helmand province, leaving the ex-official and four of his bodyguards dead, said the governor's spokesman, Ghulam Mohiudin.

The second ambush occurred several hours later when 30 of the slain official's relatives went to collect his body, his brother Dad Mohammed Khan said Monday. Khan said 25 people were killed, including the brother and nephew of the dead official, Jama Gul. Four others were wounded.

The attacks happened nearby each other on the highway between Helmand's Sangin and Grishk districts.

Also Sunday, U.S.-led troops, backed by Afghan forces, raided a mountain Taliban stronghold near Tirin Kot, Uruzgan's provincial capital, and killed seven militants, said local Afghan army commander Gen. Rahmatullah Roufi.

After three hours of fighting, four wounded militants were arrested while others escaped into the mountains, Roufi said. Troops confiscated 11 AK-47 rifles, six rocket-propelled grenades and four machine guns.

Coalition forces have unleashed a massive offensive in four southern Afghan provinces targeting Taliban fighters who have been waging increasingly bold attacks against coalition and Afghan forces in recent months.
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