Southern Afghan offensive successful: NATO | india | Hindustan Times
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Southern Afghan offensive successful: NATO

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 13:08 IST
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A top NATO general declared an offensive aimed at driving Taliban militants out of safe havens in southern Kandahar district a success, but suicide bombings and other violence continued against international forces in Afghanistan.

Suicide bombers attacked Canadian and US troops in separate incidents on Sunday, killing two civilians and wounding six soldiers, and militants who have evaded the NATO offensive in the south took control over a district in western Afghanistan after chasing away the police.

Lt Gen David Richards, head of the 20,000 NATO-led force in Afghanistan, said on Sunday that the insurgents had been forced to abandon their positions and reconstruction and development efforts would soon begin in the volatile former Taliban heartland, he said.

He said the insurgents had "suffered significant casualties" and "had no choice but to leave."

Alliance officials have said more than 500 militants were killed during the two-week-long operation, centered mainly in Panjwai, Pashmul and Zhari districts in southern Kandahar province.

But in an apparent attempt to open new front, some 400 Taliban crossed into the western Farah province taking control of its Gulistan district after chasing away the police there, said Gen Sayed Aqa Saqib, the provincial police chief.

The militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine-guns burnt the district headquarters and a local clinic, he said.