At least 7 killed in Afghanistan attack

Suspected Taliban raid government office

October 13, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

KABUL, Afghanistan - Suspected Taliban fighters killed at least seven people and wounded two in a bold attack early yesterday on a government district office in the southern Afghan province of Zabul, local security officials said.

An American soldier was wounded in a separate attack yesterday when gunmen opened fire on a Special Forces unit training the Afghan National Army on a firing range on the edge of Kabul, the capital. NATO peacekeepers in Kabul captured a man suspected of being one of the three gunmen, said a spokesman for the U.S. military at Bagram Air Base.

The day before the attacks, 40 suspected Taliban fighters escaped from a prison in Kandahar, dealing a blow to the government of President Hamid Karzai, which is struggling to contain a violent insurgency by suspected Taliban fighters.

Five or six of the escapees are thought to be important Taliban figures, the Kandahar governor, Yusuf Pashtun, said Saturday. Six security guards are missing and are thought to have helped in the escape because the prisoners had been shackled and had dug a 30-yard tunnel to get out. No escapees have been caught, police officials said yesterday.

In the Zabul attack, up to 80 suspected Taliban fighters on motorbikes attacked the district office and police station in the Arghandab district of Zabul province. They set the district office on fire and killed four soldiers and three other workers, said Hajji Saifullah, the military division commander there.

Officials said they think the attackers had crossed the border from Pakistan.

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