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Afghan Security Forces Kill 33 Taleban Fighters


Afghan officials say 33 Taleban insurgents have been killed in southern Afghanistan during a clash with Afghan and NATO forces.

Provincial governor Asadullah Khalid says security forces launched the offensive in Kandahar after a roadside bombing killed seven police.

Also Tuesday, Afghan police in Kabul detained a Saudi citizen accused of planning suicide attacks against high-ranking government officials.

In another incident south of Kabul, the U.S.-led coalition says a Taleban suicide bomber blew himself up near a coalition convoy. There was no further information on casualties.

Top world officials are meeting in Rome to discuss ways to strengthen the Afghanistan's legal system for a second day.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Tuesday the alliance must do and will do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

He drew a distinction between what he calls unintentional deaths caused by NATO and Taleban practices.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Taleban fighters use civilians as shields against military forces in Afghanistan. He said the forces are doing their best to avoid hitting civilians.

Separately, the Afghan ambassador to the United States told VOA that U.S. and NATO forces must do more to avoid killing civilians as they battle the Taleban, despite the militant group's tactic of hiding among civilians, which he noted is not going to change.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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