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Afghan Government: Air Strikes Kill 11 Taleban Fighters

15 May 2007

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says air strikes have killed at least 11 Taleban fighters in southern Afghanistan.

The police chief of Kandahar province, Esmatullah Alizai, put the death toll much higher, saying 60 militants were killed in the air strikes late Monday in Zhari district. He says the dead include three Taleban commanders.

International forces in Afghanistan have not confirmed the operation.

In another development, a Taleban spokesman says Mullah Bakht Mohammad has been appointed the group's top military commander. He replaces his older brother, Mullah Dadullah, who was killed in southern Afghanistan Saturday in a battle with U.S. and Afghan forces.

The American television network ABC News broadcast an interview with Dadullah Monday that it says was taped 36 hours before his death. In the subtitled video, Dadullah said he was training American and British citizens to carry out suicide attacks in their home countries.

Dadullah also said the attacks would be intended to make the American and British people understand how hard it is for Afghans to endure foreign occupation.

Both the U.S. and Britain have troops in Afghanistan as part of a U.S.-led multinational force and a NATO peacekeeping mission.

ABC News quotes U.S. military officials as saying they had tracked Dadullah as he left the Pakistani city of Quetta and crossed the border into Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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