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Taliban Seizes Hostages, Kills Civilians Near Kandahar Airport

by Ken Schwartz December 08, 2015

Five Taliban gunmen are holding a number of civilians hostage as they fight Afghan security forces at a military housing bloc near the Kandahar airport.

Earlier Tuesday, Taliban suicide bombers attacked the complex, killing 18 people including women and children.

Nine of the suicide bombers were killed while five others seized the hostages.

Regional corps commander General Daud Shah Wafadar told VOA he believes he was the target of the attack.

'I was going back to my residence from work when I came under attack but I escaped unhurt,' the general said.

The Taliban sent a statement to VOA claiming its suicide bombers inflicted heavy casualties on Afghan security forces, killing and wounding dozens of them. But the Taliban is known to exaggerate the numbers in such attacks.

Violence in Herat

Meanwhile, Afghan officials reported Tuesday that fighting between rival Taliban factions left dozens of people dead and many more wounded in the western city of Herat, where a newly formed breakaway Taliban faction is headquartered.

There have been reports the mainstream insurgents are prepared to mount an assault on the dissident group for refusing to pledge allegiance to its new chief, Mullah Mansour Akhtar.

Mansour took over the Taliban in July when it confirmed the death of its founder Mullah Omar.

Some key Taliban members opposed Omar's successor, saying they would form their own faction.

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