Taliban standoff ends in Afghan city

Last Updated: Monday, May 9, 2011 - 13:35

Kandahar: Afghan security forces overnight killed the final fighter of a Taliban squad that launched a string of attacks in the city of Kandahar, ending a near 36-hour siege, officials said on Monday.

Life in Kandahar, the biggest city in the south and the Taliban`s birthplace, was normal on Monday with people and traffic back on the streets after a major lockdown following the attacks, a report said.

The standoff began at around 1:00 pm (0830 GMT) on Saturday when a squad of Taliban armed with suicide vests, guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) attacked the governor`s office from nearby buildings.

Officials said at least 10 blasts, including seven suicide attacks, rocked the city as assaults spread to other sites including police stations and the office of the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

Although the violence subsequently died down, several Taliban remained holed up in a traffic police building near the NDS on Sunday.

Two of them were shot and killed earlier in the day and the third was killed late Sunday, provincial spokesman Zalmay Ayobi said.

"Afghan forces are in control of the traffic police building that was occupied by the enemy," Ayobi said.

"There were three of them. Two were shot and killed earlier yesterday and one who had a suicide vest on him resisted until late yesterday and was finally shot dead before he could detonate explosives strapped to his body.”

"They were armed with hand grenades, RPGs and machine guns."

Kandahar is seen as key to US-led efforts to end the near decade-long Taliban insurgency and hand Afghan forces responsibility for national security across the troubled country by 2014.

International forces say that the city and its surrounding area, traditionally hotbeds of unrest, are safer following months of intense fighting last year to clear Taliban strongholds.

But government officials and institutions are still frequently targeted by militants in the city.

Last month, nearly 500 Taliban prisoners escaped from Kandahar`s prison through a huge tunnel.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, May 9, 2011 - 13:35

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