all is not well in afghanistan

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    Taliban Take Control Of Government Offices In Zabul
    Apr 06, 2003
    Source: Hi Pakistan

    The Taliban have taken control of the headquarters in Naubahar and Shinkai districts in the southwestern Zabul province in Afghanistan.

    A Taliban spokesman, Mohammad Mukhtar Mujahid, told The News that their fighters evicted the Afghan government officials manning the Naubahar and Shinkai district headquarters on Sunday morning. "Armed Taliban fired in the air to force the government militiamen to vacate the Uloswali (district offices). They spared the lives of the government functionaries because the Taliban objective was to make their presence felt rather than harming fellow Afghans," he explained.

    Mujahid said the primary aim of the Taliban and their allies was to compel all foreign forces to pullout from Afghanistan. He said the "jihad" would continue until the US-led occupation forces withdrew from Afghanistan. He pointed out that Afghans serving the US military authorities in Afghanistan or working for the "puppet" Hamid Karzai government would be considered a legitimate target in case they refused to give up their work.

    There was no independent confirmation of the Taliban claim. The US military and the Afghan government have yet to react to the claim. The spokesman didn't say if the Taliban fighters would continue to occupy the district offices of Naubahar and Shinkai or move out to avoid bloodshed. However, he seemed to be hinting that the Taliban had made the point by occupying the district headquarters and could opt to vacate the place if attacked. It is certain that the US and Afghan militiamen would retaliate and try to retake the Naubahar and Shinkai district headquarters. Bombing by US warplanes could also take place to "soften" the target before moving Afghan militia soldiers to the area.

    The Taliban spokesman also said that fighting was going on in parts of Urozgan province in central Afghanistan. He said the Taliban were putting resistance to US attacks in the area. It may be mentioned that Ghulam Jailani, who sheltered Karzai when he made a foray from Pakistan, where he lived in Quetta, into Afghanistan in November 2001 during Taliban rule, was killed along with his nephew by unknown gunmen in Urozgan's Dehrawud district a couple of days ago. The Taliban were blamed for Jailani's murder. Karzai had sent a delegation to Dehrawud to condole Jailani's death and console his bereaved family. His murder was seen as a challenge to Karzai and the US military. The recent clashes in Urozgan are being linked to Jailani's killing.

    Attacks on US-led coalition troops have increased in the wake of the US-British invasion of Iraq. In recent days, two US soldiers were killed and a third injured in an ambush in Gereshk in Helmand province while an expatriate engineer working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was shot dead in Urozgan. Bomb explosions in the border town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province killed two Afghan militiamen and injured another four. Another bomb blast in a garrison in Jalalabad also wounded some Afghan soldiers. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul and US military outposts in Kunar, Khost, Paktia, Paktika and Kandahar were also rocketed.

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