Friday, June 20, 2008

Routed Taliban flee territory north of Kandahar

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — The Taliban's swift retreat from their newly conquered territory north of Kandahar city left Afghan officials triumphant on Thursday, but a Canadian commander warned that the insurgents are capable of more spectacular attacks in the coming months.

Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, the top Canadian commander in Afghanistan, said Afghan forces and foreign troops pushed deep into the Arghandab valley on Wednesday night. A few hours after dawn Thursday morning, a Taliban spokesman confirmed by telephone that most insurgents were pulling out of the district.

“There is no doubt in my mind, however, that further insurgent attacks will take place in the months ahead,” Gen. Thompson said.

In the past week, Taliban insurgents launched a spectacular attack on Sarpoza jail on the western outskirts of Kandahar city, freeing nearly all the prisoners, and briefly seized control of a dozen villages in Arghandab district, a strategic valley with no major Taliban presence until recently.

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