Two newlywed couples among victims of latest Afghan violence

31 others are killed in clashes between Taliban militants and police forces.

Afghan APC 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Afghan APC 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Two newly married couples were among 37 people who died in the latest violence across southern Afghanistan, which included clashes between Taliban militants and international forces. In Kandahar, militants opened fire on an SUV carrying two newlywed couples and their relatives Friday, killing both couples and a child, said Kandahar provincial police chief Syed Agha Saqib. A man and a child were wounded. Saqib accused the Taliban of "killing innocent Afghans." Afghan and security forces clashed with Taliban militants in separate incidents in the south, resulting in 25 suspected insurgents and six policemen being killed, officials said Friday. In Kandahar a roadside bomb hit a police patrol vehicle Friday, killing four policemen, said Zhari district chief Niaz Mohammad Serhadi. During an operation in the Derawud district of Uruzgan province, Afghan and foreign troops battled militants Thursday night, killing 20 suspected Taliban, said Uruzgan police chief Juma Gul Himat. Two policemen also died in the fighting. NATO's International Security Assistance Force said it was aware of ongoing fighting in the area, but did not have any details. A separate group of Taliban insurgents poured into the nearby district of Naish, and police surrounded the area on Thursday, triggering a two-hour gun battle that left five suspected militants dead and two policemen wounded, Himat said. In southwestern Nimroz province, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to a NATO convoy, but there were no casualties, said ISAF spokesman Maj. Charles Anthony. The southern provinces have been the arena of the heaviest fighting between insurgents and international forces in recent months. More than 5,800 people, mostly militants, have died in insurgency-related violence this year, a record number, according to an Associated Press tally of figures from Western and Afghan officials.