Taliban takes control of 2 southern towns | india | Hindustan Times
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Taliban takes control of 2 southern towns

The Taliban rebels also killed a US-led coalition soldier and wounded 11 others in a fierce firefight.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2006 17:00 IST

Taliban-led violence flared across southern Afghanistan with militants taking control of two southern towns while also killing a US-led coalition soldier and wounding 11 others in a fierce firefight, officials said.

A suicide bomber killed three Justice Ministry employees after blowing himself up inside their offices on Monday in southern Helmand province, where three Afghan soldiers also died in a roadside bombing.

In eastern Afghanistan, US-led troops killed four suspected Al-Qaeda members, including Arab and Chechen fighters, after raiding their hide-out.

A militant tossed a grenade into a wedding party in the same area, killing one man and wounding 16 others.

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

"Coalition forces attacked and destroyed a truck which extremists were loading with mortar equipment," the military said.

"The attack was followed by a heavy engagement with enemy combatants."

The nationalities of the soldiers were not released. It was unclear if there were militant casualties.

Thousands of US-led troops are battling Taliban holdouts and allied extremists in remote southern and eastern provinces to curb the deadliest upsurge in violence since the hardline militia was ousted in late 2001.