Second Taliban boat sinks, 30 killed: Afghan official | world | Hindustan Times
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Second Taliban boat sinks, 30 killed: Afghan official

world Updated: Jun 05, 2007 16:52 IST

More than 30 Taliban militants were killed when their boat sank in a river in southern Afghanistan, the defence ministry said on Tuesday, in the second such incident in four days.

Soldiers backed by foreign troops fired on the makeshift boat as it crossed a river in southern Helmand province on Monday, ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said.

"Over 30 Taliban were on board and all of them drowned and died," he told AFP.
The soldiers had come under fire from those on the boat, he said.

"Those onboard were all terrorists," a statement from the ministry said.

About 60 fleeing Taliban guerrillas were killed in a similar incident after their boat sank in volatile Helmand on Friday, the spokesman said at the weekend.

The US-led coalition said it was aware of such an incident, which its reports said occurred on Sunday, but it was not involved.

The separate NATO-led International Security Assistance Force did not have information about the reported sinking.

The rebels had crossed the river from Sangin district to Musa Qala, the defence ministry said. Afghan and foreign forces are involved in an operation in the area, a hotbed of the Taliban insurgency.

The ministry said about 20 other rebels were killed in fighting on Monday across southern Afghanistan, where hundreds of Afghan and foreign troops have launched a wave of operations since last week.