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Taleban Kills 16 in Afghanistan - 2004-06-27

In Afghanistan, suspected members of the ousted Taleban Islamic government have gunned down at least 16 people. The attack may have been intended to intimidate voters.

The deadly incident took place late Friday night in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan.

Local authorities say suspected Taleban guerillas kidnapped passengers of a bus and then killed them after finding that they had registered for the upcoming national elections.

Authorities in Uruzgan province say that hundreds of U.S. and Afghan soldiers backed by air support are searching the area to find those responsible for the attack.

A spokesman for the Taleban has reportedly claimed the hard-line Islamic militia is responsible for the killings.

This is the most serious attack aimed at disrupting the elections set for September. Saturday, a bomb explosion in eastern Afghanistan killed two women election workers and wounded nine others.

NATO leaders meeting this week in Istanbul are to consider a request by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to send more troops to ensure security before the elections.