updated 9/19/2003 11:07:03 PM ET 2003-09-20T03:07:03

U.S. helicopters attacked a tent in southern Afghanistan, killing two Taliban militants and 10 nomadic tribesmen after the Taliban sought shelter there, a deputy governor in Zabul province said Saturday.

U.S. FORCES in Afghanistan could not immediately be reached for comment.

The deputy governor, Mullah Mohammed Umer, told The Associated Press by satellite phone that the incident took place Thursday night in the district of Naubahar, 120 miles northeast of Kandahar.

The Taliban militants had taken refuge in the tent after seeing the American helicopters, he said.

A local Taliban commander, Mullah Mohammed Gul Niazi, who has been leading attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces in Zabul for the past year, was among the dead, Umer said.

“We only know that Mullah Mohammed Gul Niazi was using a satellite phone when two American helicopters reached there,” he said. “Ten innocent nomads were killed because of these Taliban.”

Remnants of Taliban have recently stepped up attacks against coalition forces, which are battling Taliban and al-Qaida fighters who are believed to have scattered across much of Afghanistan.

U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in late 2001 because of their alliance with al-Qaida.

POLICE CHIEF KILLED

Meanwhile, in Zadi Dhushph district, 25 miles west of Kandahar, suspected Taliban or al-Qaida gunmen killed a district police chief late Friday, district government head Haji Abdul Ghani said.

The police commander, Haji Fardar Mohammad, was in his vehicle with two bodyguards when it came under fire, Ghani said. His two guards were wounded. The gunmen escaped.

In eastern Afghanistan on Friday, an Afghan security official died while defusing a bomb planted on a road, police officials said.

The security official, whose name was not released, was trying to defuse the bomb in Paktia province when it exploded, police official Gul Haider Zedran told AP by satellite phone from Khost.

InsertArt(2019583)Also Friday, an explosion caused by locals handling unexploded ordnance killed three people and injured five at a house near the U.S. military headquarters at Bagram air base, officials and local residents said.

U.S. and Afghan troops rushed to the scene of the blast, which occurred when the father of a family living in the house tried to open a rocket.

Afghanistan is awash in rockets, shells and ammunition left over from more than two decades of war. Accidents, most involving scavengers looking to use the metal for scrap and farmers who step on mines, are common.

The country is considered to be the most heavily mined in the world.

© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments