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Taliban Attack Afghan Police Chief Home07/27 11:03

   KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Taliban insurgents attacked the home of a 
well-known provincial police chief in restive southern Afghanistan on Sunday, 
killing a civilian and a border policeman before being shot dead by police, 
officials said.

   The six gunmen, all of whom were wearing suicide vests, launched the attack 
from a school building near Gen. Abdul Razeq's house in the Spin Boldak 
district of Kandahar province, but were shot dead before they could enter the 
residence, provincial police spokesman Zia Durani said.

   "Gen. Abdul Razeq was in his house at the time of the attack," but was 
unharmed, Durani added.

   Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack 
in a statement sent to the media. The Taliban frequently carry out suicide 
bombings and other attacks against Afghan and NATO forces.

   Abdul Razeq is a well-known police chief and prominent anti-Taliban figure 
in Kandahar province, and has survived several attacks.

   In the capital Kabul, meanwhile, hundreds of protesters took to the streets 
in an anti-Taliban demonstration organized by activists and civil society 
groups, with similar protests held in the northern Balkh and western Herat 
provinces. The protesters chanted against the recent killing of civilians in 
Taliban attacks.

   On Friday Taliban gunmen halted three minibuses in the western Ghor province 
and shot dead 14 passengers on the side of the road, including three women, 
after identifying them as Hazara Shiites.

   The Taliban, like other Sunni extremist groups, view the country's minority 
Shiite community as apostates, and have targeted Hazaras in the past with 
suicide bombings and other attacks.

   Ousted from power by the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, the Taliban soon regrouped 
as an insurgency battling NATO troops and Afghan security forces.

   The United States has pressed Afghanistan to agree to a bilateral security 
pact that would allow thousands of American troops to remain past the end of 
the year to train Afghan security forces and assist with counterterrorism 
operations.

   Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the agreement. The two 
candidates in last month's disputed presidential runoff have said they will 
sign the pact, but the final results in the election have been delayed amid 
allegations of fraud.

   The Taliban's reclusive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar on Friday warned against 
signing the agreement in a message released in honor of the Eid al-Fitr holiday 
marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

   "We believe the war in Afghanistan will come to an end when all foreign 
invaders pull out of Afghanistan and a holy Islamic and independent regime 
prevails here," he said, adding that the presence of even a limited number of 
foreign troops would mean a "continuation of occupation and the war."


(KA)


 
 
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