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60% Taliban militants foreigners: Afghan min

world Updated: Feb 05, 2009 13:06 IST

Agencies
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Afghanistan's Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak has said that 60 per cent of the Taliban militants were foreigners, an Afghan newspaper reported on Thursday.

"Over 60 per cent of anti-government militants are foreign nationals," daily Arman-e-Millie quoted the minister as saying.

The defence minister did not specify the nationalities of the militants.

The newspaper also quoted the defence minister as saying that these insurgents were mostly active in the Helmand province.

According to Afghan defence ministry, around 15,000 Taliban rebels are currently fighting in Afghanistan and the numbers were being swelled by foreign insurgents moving in from Iraq.

"Since last year, as the result of the success of the surge in Iraq, there has been a flow of foreign terrorists into Afghanistan," Wardak said, adding that foreign nationals mostly from the Arab countries, Uzbekistan, Chechnya and Pakistan were seen siding with the Taliban insurgents in the past.