Overseas Civilian Contractors

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Taliban’s beheading of six police raises fears over troop withdrawal

Martin Bentham    The London Evening Standard

Six Afghan police officers have been beheaded by Taliban fighters during a raid on government buildings in northern Afghanistan, Nato revealed today.

The killings happened when a police checkpoint close to the buildings in the Dahanah-ye Ghori district of Baghlan province was overrun by an unknown number of insurgents.

The area has so far been largely free of a Taliban presence and will raise fears that violence could be spreading even further throughout Afghanistan, putting a question mark over pledges to pull out foreign troops.

David Cameron, on a visit to the US, disclosed that the withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan could begin as soon as next year, depending on “how well the security situation is progressing”.

An international conference this week on the future of Afghanistan concluded that Afghan forces should be leading security operations by 2014, with the aim of relieving foreign troops in some areas by as soon as the end of this year.

A spokesman for the Taliban confirmed the attack but denied the beheadings. The Taliban has cut off heads before but the governor of Baghlan, Abdul Majid, said he was unaware of the mutilation report.

Despite the number of foreign forces rising to around 150,000, the Taliban have made a comeback since their removal from power in 2001.

June was the deadliest month for US and international forces with the deaths of 103 personnel, including 60 Americans. Britain, with nearly 10,000 troops in the country, has suffered 322 fatalities since 2001.

July 21, 2010 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , ,

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