Taliban militants kill nine Afghan soldiers

Agence France Presse

Kandahar, April 3:

Taliban militants stormed a government building in southern Afghanistan today and killed nine Afghan soldiers in a two-hour gunbattle before fleeing, officials said.

The militants were in control of on Helmand province’s Deshu district headquarters, 700 km south of the capital Kabul, throughout the exchange before being forced out, they said.

“A group of Taliban attacked the district headquarters of Deshu this morning and in the exchange of fire nine Afghan soldiers were killed and three were injured,” district commissioner Haji Mohamed Rahim said. “Taliban were in control of the district headquarters for two hours and then we managed to force them out.” There was no word on the militants’ casualties.

A Western security source in Kandahar linked the attack to an ongoing counter-narcotics drive in Helmand province and said security was deteriorating there. “There is a lot of unrest in Helmand province at the moment because of drugs eradication,” he said.

Violence has surged in recent weeks after the bitterest winter in a decade reduced attacks to a minimum, with a rise in Taliban-related violence in southern, southeastern and eastern Afghanistan.