Afghanistan: Residents flee Taliban-occupied town

February 4, 2007 03:05

Hundreds of villagers fled a southern Afghan town overrun by Taliban militants, fearful of a NATO attack on the insurgent fighters who have hoisted their trademark white flag over the town's ransacked government center. NATO's outgoing commander, Gen. David Richards, said "very surgical and deliberate" force would be used if needed to solve the crisis in the town of Musa Qala, and Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said: "If there is a need for an operation, there will be one." Col. Tom Collins, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said Saturday that NATO was watching the situation, but that no forces were in Musa Qala. "It is only a matter of time before (the) government re-establishes control," Collins said.

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