Deaths in western Afghanistan gun battle

Gun battle between private security forces, Afghan army and Taliban fighters leaves many dead in Farah province.

    A clash between private security guards escorting a NATO convoy and Taliban fighters in western Afghanistan has led to the deaths of 30 memebrs of the Taliban and five guards, officials have said.

    The Wednesday evening gun battle began with heavily-armed fighters attacking a convoy containing supplies for NATO-led forces in the Gulistan district of western Farah province.

    The trucks were headed to the southern province of Helmand, police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told Afghan media.

    Ahmadi said at least 30 Taliban fighters were killed.

    Another 10 fighters and five security guards were injured in the three-hour firefight that also left oil tankers torched.

    The wounded were taken to Herat Civil Hospital.

    Syed Wahid Qatali, an official of Arya Security, the company contracted to escort the convoy, also said that Afghan media that 30 Taliban fighters were killed in the clash.

    Private security guards, armed with AK-47s had already killed 14 fighters, who were using rock-propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine guns, when police reached the scene, Qatali told local media.

    Qatali said five security guards will killed in the gun fight. Taliban fighters also burned three vehicles in the convoy.

    A hospital spokesman confirmed the arrival of five dead and eight wounded bodies, belonging to the private security guards. Of the wounded, two were said to be in critical condition upon arrival.

    The Taliban said 40 Afghan National Army soldiers, including a commander, were killed in the attack.

    A statement on the group's website said another 10 soldiers were injured and that five, not three, military vehicles were shot and destroyed with RPG fire.

    The group acknowledged the death of six of their fighters with another 12 injured.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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