Military

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Gunmen Assassinate Taleban Defector



15 January 2006

The Taleban says it has killed one of its former leaders who renounced the group that ruled Afghanistan until it was ousted by U.S.-led forces in 2001. Mullah Abdul Samad Khaksar was a vocal critic of the Taleban insurgency and Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

Former Taleban intelligence chief and deputy interior minister Mullah Abdul Samad Khaksar was killed Saturday afternoon near his home in Kandahar.

Taleban spokesmen are claiming responsibility for the killing.

But Kandahar police chief, Abdul Wahidi, says the case is still under investigation.

He says witnesses saw two men riding motorcycles shoot Khaksar as he was walking home from a nearby market.

In 2001, Khaksar defected to the Afghan army after a U.S.-led coalition ousted the militant Taleban regime for harboring al Qaida terrorists.

In September, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for Afghanistan's new parliament. U.S. and Afghan authorities have condemned the killing.



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