Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Afghanistan body count raises skepticism

NATO's estimate of Taliban killed this month has created skepticism and worry in Afghanistan, with local officials saying that either the militant force has grown bigger than imagined - or too many innocent Afghans are being killed.





NATO says its forces, backed by the Afghan army, have killed more than 500 Taliban militants near Afghanistan's main southern city of Kandahar in Operation Medusa, a sweep launched Sept. 2.

The figures, if accurate, make it the deadliest battle since U.S. warplanes bombed the extremist militia, host of Osama bin Laden, out of power in late 2001.

"If they kill that many, the Taliban must have thousands of fighters on that front," said Mohammed Arbil, a former Northern Alliance commander. In the recent past, Taliban units have been described in terms of dozens or hundreds at most.

Source

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