Search leads to attacks on Taliban



No American or Afghan troops were reported injured.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- U.S. and Afghan troops killed a Taliban commander and detained 22 suspected Taliban fighters during a major search operation after a gunbattle in a southern Afghan mountain range, officials said Saturday.
Also, a renegade warlord was taken into custody weeks after a clash with a powerful rival in the west of the country, as authorities struggle to improve security for October elections.
Mullah Rozi Khan, a Taliban commander in Zabul province, was killed after troops surrounded a group of rebels in Ghazoi village Friday evening, said Asadullah Khan, governor of neighboring Ghazni province.
"The soldiers demanded that they surrender, but instead they started shooting," Khan told The Associated Press. "Mullah Rozi Khan and another Talib has been killed and several others arrested."
Other involvement
Rozi Khan also was suspected of involvement in kidnappings and attacks on foreign construction workers retooling the main Kabul-Kandahar highway in Zabul.
U.S. military spokesman Maj. Scott Nelson confirmed the operations in Zabul and neighboring Ghazni province, and said 22 Taliban suspects had been detained.
"We did have a major operation there," he said.
It was unclear how many American and Afghan soldiers were taking part. None were reported injured.
Zabul has seen some of the bloodiest fighting between rebels and U.S.-led forces since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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