Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Transferred Afghan police chief killed in desert ambush


Militants fatally shot a local police chief and five other officers in an ambush on a desert road in western Afghanistan yesterday, while US and Afghan forces killed an al-Qaeda suspect in the east, officials said.

Nassar Ahmad, who had been transferred from police chief of Farah Province's Gulistan district to the nearby Khaki Safed area, was traveling in a convoy to take up his new post when insurgents attacked at about 7am, said General Sayed Aqa Sakid, the provincial police chief.

Sakid said Ahmad and five other policemen were killed and four wounded in the attack in volatile Dalaram district, about 120km east of Farah City. Taliban fighters have moved into the district after fleeing NATO-led military operations in southern Helmand Province.

It was unclear who was behind the ambush and Sakid blamed only the "enemies of Afghanistan," a term used to refer to holdouts from the Taliban regime which was ousted by US-led forces in late 2001 for hosting Osama bin Laden.

Farah Province has witnessed relatively few insurgent attacks but borders Taliban-infested regions in southern Afghanistan like Helmand, where thousands of NATO forces are trying to crush the country's deadliest spate of violence since the Taliban's toppling.

Separately, Afghan and US troops killed one al-Qaeda suspect and detained 13 others yesterday in the southeast part of Khost Province, the US military said in a statement.

Soldiers surrounded a residential compound in the village of Yaqubi to capture an al-Qaeda facilitator who had been linked to the smuggling of weapons and explosives in the area, the military said.

The troops asked people inside the compound to surrender. Most did, but a suspected al-Qaeda member disguised as a woman resisted arrest and was shot dead, the statement said.

It was not immediately clear whether the wanted facilitator was the same as the person who was killed or among those who were detained.

Soldiers searched the compound and located numerous detonators and other bomb-making materials, the statement said. More than 60 women and children were inside the compound at the time of the operation, it said.

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