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Afghan Taliban expands activities from restive south to peaceful northeast

12-20-2011 16:16 BJT

by Abdul Haleem, Zhang Jianhua

KABUL, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Taliban militants have expanded activities from the restive southern region to the peaceful northeast in a bid to divert security forces' attention and reduce pressure.

The insurgents had kidnapped nearly a dozen Afghan police in the northern Badakhshan province early this month and the troops set them free over the weekend, Afghan and NATO officials have confirmed.

"ISAF would also like to offer congratulations on behalf of all troops contributing nations of the coalition, on the successful rescue of 11 Afghan National Police personnel, who were kidnapped by insurgents in Aq Shir village of Wardooj district in Badakhshan province,"spokesman of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told journalists on Monday.

He emphasized that 25 opposition fighters were detained during the operation led by Afghan security forces.

Badakhshan, some 315 km northeast of Afghan capital Kabul has been regarded as a peaceful province in the conflict-ridden Afghanistan.

Although, the Taliban insurgents fighting Afghan and NATO-led forces have conducted series of attacks in northern provinces in recent years including several deadly ones that had eliminated high ranking officials including police chief and provincial governor of Kunduz province, Badakhshan remained peaceful.

Nonetheless, the anti-government militants took many by surprise when they abducted 11 policemen early this month.

The insurgents laid ambush on police convoy, killing two police officers and injuring three others in Aq Shir village of Wardooj district on Dec. 5.

Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in talks with media claimed of responsibility, saying besides killing over a dozen police officers, the militants had also taken away several others.

Abdul Marour Rasikh, spokesman for Badakhshan's provincial administration, confirmed the clash and counter-operation carried out by Afghan security forces. "All the 11 policemen have been set free by security forces," Rasikh told Xinhua.

He added that four insurgents had been killed and 31 others captured during the operation wrapped up on Friday.

Badakhshan had remained out of Taliban control during the outfit's six year reign in the country's 90 percent territory before its collapse in late 2001.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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