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Taliban kill 8 in attack on convoy

world Updated: Dec 30, 2007 17:01 IST

Taliban militants fired rocket- propelled grenades from their vehicles at a convoy of private security guards on Afghanistan's main highway, killing six guards and two police officers, a police chief said on Sunday.

The attack in a dangerous section of Wardak province occurred yesterday as the security contractors were guarding equipment being driven from Ghazni city to the capital Kabul, said Wardak police chief Gen Zafaruddin, who goes by one name.

Taliban militants opened fire on the convoy near Maydon Shahr, about 30 kilometers southwest of Kabul, and six guards and two policemen were killed, he said.

This year has been Afghanistan's most violent since the 2001 US-led invasion drove the Taliban from power. More than 6,300 people, mostly militants, have been killed in insurgency-related violence, according to an Associated Press count.

Meanwhile, the UN's top representative here, Tom Koenigs, said he was "particularly concerned" that an Afghan consultant who worked for the UN remains jailed after he accompanied officials from the UN and European Union, allegedly to a meeting with Taliban commanders in Helmand province.

The government asked the two officials to leave the country last week, and detained the Afghan consultant for attending the alleged meeting.

"We've made it clear to the Afghan government that we want to see him released as soon as possible, because even the government has publicly stated that no UN staff member was involved in any secret talks," said Aleem Siddique, a spokesman for the UN mission.