Nato looks east in Afghanistan

Nato's leadership was in Afghanistan to assess the expansion of the International Security Assistance, due to move into eastern Afghanistan in the coming months to cover the whole of the country.

    Nato troops will move to eastern Afghanistsan

    The delegation, which includes ambassadors from Nato member states, will also meet the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and representatives from the United Nations and European Union before leaving on Wednesday.

    Nato's Operation Medusa, launched on Saturday to flush out Taliban fighters from a stronghold near the main southern city of Kandahar, has caused some of the most intense fighting since of the Taliban government was overthrown nearly five years ago.

    Nato said more than 200 Taliban fighters had died - a figure disputed by one of their commanders. Five Canadian soldiers had been killed, one in a friendly fire by a US warplane on Monday.

    Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, who says he speaks for the Taliban, said on Tuesday that if Nato had killed so many men, they should show them to the media. He also denied that hundreds of its fighters were trapped in Panjwayi, and said they were giving a hard time to the Nato and Afghan forces there.

    General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, will also visit Kabul on Wednesday for anti-terrorism talks with Karzai.

    Fighters cross between Afghanistan and Pakistan through their porous 2,450-km-long border. The two neighbours routinely accuse each other of not doing enough to stamp out attacks along the frontier where Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda and Taliban fugitives are believed to be hiding.

    Nato has also reported that 80 Taliban have been arrested and that a further 180 have fled from the fighting.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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