June 17, 2008

Afghan, Foreign Troops Prepare to Retake Southern Villages From Taleban – Report

Text of report by Afghan independent Tolo TV, on 17 June

[Presenter] Reports from Kandahar suggest Afghan and foreign troops are launching operations to retake parts of Arghandab district from the Taleban.

Residents of Arghandab District, meanwhile, say NATO forces have dropped leaflets urging residents of the area to leave their homes for their own safety.

[Correspondent] Based on reports, following the Taleban attack on the prison of Kandahar Province on Friday night [13 May 08] which led to the escape of 400 Taleban prisoners from the jail, around 600 Taleban fighters captured some villages of Arghandab District.

[A man speaking in Pashto, voice indistinct]

[Correspondent] Afghan and foreign troops have reportedly gone to Arghandab District to retake the areas from the Taleban.

A number of Afghan soldiers have also left the capital for Kandahar Province to take part in the operations.

[Mohammad Omar Zadran, commander, national army support brigade] The situation is very tense in Kandahar Province. The Defence Ministry has decided to launch a vast mopping-up operation in Kandahar Province and its relevant areas.

[First soldier] We are going on a mission in Kandahar.

[Second soldier] The mission is still not very clear to us. It has not been explained to us. Once we reach there, we will be briefed about it.

[Third soldier in Pashto] We serve the country so that our country can be built.

[Correspondent] Arghandab District of Kandahar is around five kilometres away from the capital of the province.

A Taleban spokesman has contacted the media to claim that their fighters have occupied some parts of Arghandab District without any resistance.

Originally published by Tolo TV, Kabul, in Dari 1330 17 Jun 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring South Asia. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.