JALALABAD (PAN): More than 100 people, including policemen, civilians and insurgents have been killed in a new wave of violence in eastern Nangarhar province, officials said Friday.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the governor’s spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News 16 militants, including fighters from Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal region, were killed in a fierce clash in Sherzad district.
The firefight, lasting several hours, came after hundreds of guerrillas laid siege to tribal elder Haji Wardak’s residence in the Marakakhel area of the district.
Afghan army and police personnel rescued the elder’s family, while clashing with the assailants, the according to the spokesman, who said: “Sixteen Afghan and foreign rebels were killed.”
Hundreds of militants launched two ambushes on the security personnel as they returned from the site, Abdulzai said, 76 fighters were eliminated in the ensuing clashes.
“Two insurgents were captured alive along with their weapons,” he said, explaining several police pick-ups were damaged as a result of fighting.
One security official, who did not want to be named, revealed 22 policemen were killed, 17 pickups destroyed and 10 cops seized by the assailants. Two senior officers of Khogyani district were also killed, he said.
Haji Wardak claimed his village had been under siege for the past two days, saying he had lost a son to the skirmishes. “We have received information about the killing of two rebel commanders and seven civilians.”
After the security forces left, the fighters returned to the village, the elder said. At least 40 attackers were killed and 60 others wounded in fire exchanges with villagers, he continued.
Eng. Shukrullah, the district’s administrative head, said the casualties had been evacuated to the Khogyani Hospital. “You can approach the Khogyani district chief for further information,” he quipped, when asked for details.
Khogyani Hospital Director Dr. Noor Agha confirmed receiving the bodies of nine security personnel and six injured policemen. Some civilians with minor injuries were discharged after being administered first aid.
For his part, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed 84 police and army personnel were killed and 89 others wounded in the clashes. He said 16 Ranger pick-ups and 13 armoured vehicles were destroyed.