Sun, Nov 18, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Taliban attacks newlywed couples

CIVILIAN TARGETS The ambush on a wedding convoy in southern Aghanistan killed two brides and a child, undermining claims the Taliban only targets the military

AFP , KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN

A mourner of late Afghan parliamentarian Sayed Mustafa Kazimi cries on Friday during a memorial ceremony in Kabul for the six Afghan lawmakers who were killed in a Nov. 6 suicide attack in Baghlan Province that killed more than 70 people.

PHOTO: AP

Taliban fighters opened fire on a convoy of vehicles taking two newly married couples home in southern Afghanistan on Friday, killing two brides and a young child, police said.

The group was ambushed while traveling in a convoy toward the southern city of Kandahar after the double wedding in Herat city further west, Kandahar province police chief Sayed Aqa Saqib said.

The attack struck the first vehicle, which carried the two women, their father-in-law, mother-in-law and a child, he said.

The father-in-law was wounded, said Saqib, who had spoken to the man in the hospital.

"They were bringing the brides home," he said.

The attacked vehicle was a 4x4 of the kind often used by the military and international organizations, among the main targets of the Taliban movement.

"There were no military convoy, military post or any military target near the blast site," Saqib said, referring to Taliban claims that they only attack military targets.

The ambush was on a main road in the Zahri district, which sees regular attacks by Taliban fighters.

Four policemen were killed in another incident in Zahri on Friday when their vehicle was hit by a remotely detonated bomb as they were traveling to work, Saqib said earlier.

A Taliban spokesman, Yousuf Ahmadi, said his organization carried out the attack.

Meanwhile, US-led coalition forces killed 23 militants during weapons searches in southern Afghanistan, the US military said yesterday.

Coalition forces searched compounds in the Garmser district of Helmand Province looking for weapons.

"Several armed militants threatening coalition forces were engaged and killed during the course of this operation," a US military statement said.

Another 11 suspects were also detained, it said.

In the country's west, a suicide attacker blew up a car bomb near an Italian military convoy on Friday, killing only himself, an Afghan general said.

The attacker detonated the bomb 100 meters from the convoy in the province of Farah, but the vehicles drove off unscathed, General Dayan Andarabi said.

"The suicide attacker was blown into pieces," said the general, a commander for the army corps assigned to cover western Afghanistan.

There have been more than 130 suicide blasts in Afghanistan this year, the worst taking more than 70 lives in the north on Nov. 6.

Most of the attacks are claimed by the hardline Islamic Taliban movement, which is waging a nearly six-year-old insurgency after it was ousted in late 2001 during a US-led invasion.

While rebel casualties mount, there are scant signs their insurgency to topple the pro-Western Afghan government and eject foreign forces is weakening, but instead there have been more clashes spread over a wider area.

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