Taliban kidnap demining team in east Afghanistan

Taliban militants are holding eight members of an Afghan demining team after ambushing the group today in eastern Afghanistan and setting fire to two of their vehicles, officials said.

Last Updated: Dec 02, 2010, 00:25 AM IST

Kabul: Taliban militants are holding eight
members of an Afghan demining team after ambushing the group
today in eastern Afghanistan and setting fire to two of their
vehicles, officials said.

Fazel Wahab, a deminer working for OMAR, a humanitarian
group working to find and dismantle homemade bombs, said
militants attacked the 16-member team near the Torkham border
crossing in Nangarhar province.

Several hours later, the Taliban released eight of his
colleagues, who contacted the organisation to report that they
had been freed, Wahab said. The militants are still holding
the other eight.

Gen Aminullah Amerkhail, border police commander for
eastern Afghanistan, and Hazrat Mohammad, a spokesman for the
Nangarhar provincial police chief, also confirmed the
kidnapping.

Also today, Afghan election officials released the final
election results for a province where the tally from the
September poll had been delayed following claims of
irregularities and voter intimidation.

The release was unchanged from the preliminary tally and
completed the final election results for the country.

That latest count gives all 11 seats in Ghazni province
to members of the Hazara ethnic group. That had angered many
in the Pashtun majority group who said they had been
disenfranchised.

Election commission Chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi said
today the results were "based on international standards".

Election officials had discarded 1.3 million Afghan
ballots, nearly a quarter of the total, for fraud and
disqualified 19 winning candidates across the country for
cheating.

PTI