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Default Taliban-HIA (Hezb Islami) clash kills 17 combatants - Badbakhto. - 07-22-2010, 02:24 AM

Fighting between Taliban insurgents and Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) in central Maidan Wardak province has left at least 17 combatants dead, officials said on Tuesday.

Fighting erupted in different areas of the lawless Nirkh district Monday, the governor's spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, told Pajhwok Afghan News. At least 15 Taliban and two HIA fighters were killed while 13 others from both side were wounded, he said. He did not reply to a query about why government officials did not interfere in the clash.

An HIA commander said that 11 Taliban fighters were killed and nine others wounded.

The bodies of six Taliban fighters were found in Omarkhel area of the district, the HIA commander, Ahmadi, said, adding 10 Kalashnikovs and a rocket launcher were recovered from the bodies.

One fighter, who was injured in the shoulder, was also arrested, he said.

However he denied there were any casualties to the HIA. Some fighters of the Taliban commander, Mullah Qasim, also came from Chak district in order to fight the HIA, he added.

A resident from Omarkhel area, who did not want to be named, said he also saw dead bodies of Taliban fighters.

The ID card of one of the killed militants showed he was a resident of Tangi village in Syedabad district, he said.

Although the clash between the two parties has ended, fighters are still entrenched in the area and some worried residents have fled their homes, he added.

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, on Monday denied there was any fighting taking place between the two anti-government parties, but he could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

He said the clash was probably a personal feud between two illegal armed groups.

Last week, a Taliban commander, Qari Ahmad Shah, was gunned down in the same area. HIA fighters were blamed for the assassination, but the group later rejected this.

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Last edited by Zarawar; 07-22-2010 at 02:30 AM.
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