6 foreign nationals held for 'training Afghan rebels'
The men, whose nationalities were not released, were detained in the volatile Sangin district of the southern province of Helmand.india Updated: Sep 05, 2006 14:50 IST
Afghan security forces have arrested six foreign nationals on suspicion of training Taliban militants engaged in insurgency in southern Afghanistan, the defence ministry said on Tuesday.
The men, whose nationalities were not released, were detained in the volatile Sangin district of the southern province of Helmand on Monday, a ministry spokesman said.
An Afghan "guide" was captured with them, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said. Some of the men were armed and had communication equipment with them, the general said.
Azimi said he could not provide further details as that could hamper investigations.
Afghan authorities have often said foreigners, chiefly from Pakistan, have been supporting Taliban rebels in their insurgency against the US-backed Afghan government.
The rebel campaign has been especially fierce in the south of Afghanistan, including in Sangin, which has seen several major clashes and attacks on foreign force bases.
The bulk of about 4,500 British troops in Afghanistan is based in Helmand, where they have admitted to confronting some of their worst fighting in decades.
Hundreds of NATO and Afghan soldiers have been engaged since Saturday in an intense operation against the Taliban in neighbouring Kandahar province, where the extremists initially took up arms in the early 1990s.
More than 200 rebels and five Canadian troops have been killed in the fighting. Fourteen British troops supporting the operation died when their plane crashed on Saturday.