Afghan troops besiege Islamic school

Afghan troops have besieged a group of Taliban fighters in a religious school in eastern Afghanistan.

    TheTaliban are resurgent in southeast Afghanistan

    Security chief General Daulat Khan told the Afghan Islamic Press

    the fighters, armed with machine guns and

    rocket launchers, had attacked government

    forces in Paktika province on Tuesday and


    He said: "We besieged them in a madrassa (on Thursday)...

    The local elders were pressing us not to launch any attack, b


    we have told them that we will definitely search the madrassa." 

    Some of the Taliban managed to flee on their motorbikes, Khan

    added, describing the situation as tense.

    Taliban comeback

    Paktika, bordering Pakistan, is one of the main battlegrounds of

    a resurgence by Taliban fighters and their supporters in the their

     former strongholds in southeast Afghanistan.

    The resistance fighters have targetted troops and officials in a

    campaign to destabilise the US-appointed President Hamid


    The fighting came a day after aid agencies warned that

    reconstruction work in some areas of the battered country was almost

    impossible due to the deteriorating security situation.

    "Since September 2002, armed attacks against the assistance

    community have increased from one a month to an average of one every

    two days," international aid agency CARE said in a statement.

    The Taliban's 1996-2001 government was overthrown in a US-led

    military campaign in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on

    New York and Washington.



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