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Karzai Pledges Security for Kandahar

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pledged to bring security to southern Kandahar province, and he blames Taleban leader Mullah Omar for renewed violence there.

In a rare visit to the troubled region Thursday, Mr. Karzai called on Mullah Omar to stop using Afghans to kill other Afghans. He also called on local leaders to defend their own public areas, a reference to recent Taleban attacks.

Mr. Karzai made the statements to a gathering of more than 150 tribal leaders and elders. He is in Kandahar to express regret for a recent coalition air strike that killed at least 16 civilians. The strike was aimed at Taleban insurgents in a Kandahar village.

The International Organization for Migration said today that more than 3,000 Afghan villagers have fled their homes in the battle zone.

Taleban militants have recently increased their attacks in Afghanistan, prompting reneThis story was first broadcast on the English news program,VOA News Now. For other Focus reports click efforts by U.S.-led coalition forces to destroy Taleban hideouts. More than 300 people, including militants, Afghan forces, coalition soldiers and civilians have been killed over the past week.

Coalition officials say three Afghan truck drivers in a convoy hauling supplies for the U.S. military north of Kabul were among those killed on Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.