At Least 70 Afghan Villagers Kidnapped By Suspected Taliban Fighters, Seven Killed

Taliban militants stand with their weapons in Ahmad Aba district on the outskirts of Gardez the capital of Paktia province Afghanistan

The death toll in an airstrike on July 21 was determined after a site inspection of the compound in the Gereshk district, said Helmand provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Safi.

The reasons why these villagers have been referred to are unknown, but this type of operation target, in general, the officials of the Kabul government and the security forces.

Local media on Sunday also reported that the Taliban had overran Taywara district in the central province of Ghor, though there was no immediate official confirmation.

Afghan security forces are battling a 16-year-long insurgency led by the Taliban, an extremist group that was driven from power after a USA -led invasion following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.

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The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a USA watchdog, estimates that the Taliban controls 11 districts and has influence over 34 of Afghanistan's 407 districts (11 percent), while the Afghan government controls 97 districts and influences 146 (60 percent).

At least 70 Afghans have been abducted by Taliban extremists in a series attacks in southern Kandahar Province, the provincial police and governor's office say.

At least eight police were killed in separate battles against Taliban militants, who have stepped up their attacks in the north and west of the country laying siege to district headquarters, said Mohammad Mustafa Moseni.

"They killed seven of them", Raziq said. Bigzad said another 20 members of a local police force were missing following a firefight on July 21.

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Spokesperson Khapalwak said that the Taliban has held 33 hostages after freeing the others. It wasn't immediately clear if they had been kidnapped or had escaped.

The kidnappings took place in the aftermath of a clash between Afghanistan troops and Taliban on the road connecting Uruzgan and Kandahar, in which the latter suffered "many casualties".

Security situation has been improving in Kandahar, the former stronghold of Taliban, over the past months as security forces have conducted search and cordon operations across the province, 450 km away from Kabul.

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