NATO forces kill 94 Taliban in s. Afghanistan

NATO forces kill 94 Taliban in southern Afghanistan NATO and Afghan forces killed 94 Taliban fighters in airstrikes and ground attacks in southern Afghanistan, the military alliance said Sunday. The 94 militants were killed in Kandahar province's Panjwayi and neighboring Zhari districts late Saturday and early Sunday and were separate to more than 40 Taliban who died in fighting in the same areas earlier Saturday, NATO spokesman Maj. Scott Lundy said. The killings were part of a NATO-led Operation called Operation Medusa, which began Sept. 2 and has killed at least 420 insurgents, according to the alliance. Purported Taliban spokesmen have disputed the high death counts. NATO said in a statement that the insurgent casualties were inflicted by warplanes in four separate engagements. Panjwayi has long been regarded as a haven for the Taliban, which has been fanning Afghanistan's deadliest spate of violence since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the hard-line regime after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Separately, Taliban militants killed three Afghan soldiers and wounded eight in an ambush in southern Zabul province's Shahjoy district Saturday, said Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi. Afghan authorities also found the body of a district education chief Saturday who was kidnapped by suspected militants in central Afghanistan's Ghazni province, said Abdul Ali Faquri, a spokesman for the provincial governor. The corpse of Mohammed Halim, education director for Qarabagh district, was found in a field in the Goshak area after suspected Taliban militants abducted him last week. Halim's killing is the latest in a series of attacks targeting state officials to undermine the authority of President Hamid Karzai's U.S.-backed government. Seperately, a suicide bombing killed three people including the governor of Afghanistan's eastern Paktika province outside his home on Sunday, police said. Three others wounded in the attack outside Gov. Abdul Hakim Taniwal's house in the provincial capital of Gardez, said provincial police chief Abdul Annan Raufi. The attacker, with explosives attached to his body, detonated the bomb as the governor left the house in a car, Raufi said.