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Amnesty International: Taleban Attacks Against Afghan Civilians Increasing

Amnesty International says Taleban insurgents are deliberately targeting civilians in Afghanistan to instill fear and exert control over the population.

The London-based rights group said Thursday that civilians are increasingly facing suicide attacks, abductions and beheadings.

The organization said Taleban militants have a deliberate policy of killing teachers, abducting aid workers and burning school buildings. It said targets also include women's rights activists, clerics, government and health workers and teachers.

Amnesty said at least 756 civilians were killed in 2006, mostly from roadside bombs and suicide attacks.

On Wednesday, a U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan said an expected Taleban offensive has not materialized, partly because of increased operations by U.S. and NATO forces.

Brigadier General Joseph Votel says there are clashes every day, but they are mostly small scale.

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