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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 April 2006, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
'Casualties' in Afghan gun battle

A gun battle between Taleban fighters and Afghan security forces has broken out in the province of Ghazni.

The local governor says three Taleban fighters and one policeman have died.

The fighting is the latest violence in southern Afghanistan, where roadside bombs and suicide attacks have become a favoured weapon among insurgents.

Visiting UK Defence Secretary John Reid has denied reports that he is being pressured to send reinforcements to the British troops in the country.

'Hiding'

The gun battle broke out at around 1330 local time.

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It started when Afghan soldiers and police surrounded a village where Taleban fighters were said to be hiding.

The governor of Ghazni, Haji Sher Alam, told the BBC: "The fighting is still going on. Three Taleban and one policeman have been killed."

Further south, in the province of Kandahar, an Afghan guard working for an American-backed security firm was killed when insurgents attacked his headquarters.

On Saturday four Canadians troops in Kandahar were killed after their patrol was targeted.

Visiting UK Defence Secretary John Reid has stressed Britain's commitment to Afghanistan during talks in the capital, Kabul.

"The greatest danger of all for the people of Afghanistan and the people of the United Kingdom would be if Afghanistan ever again came under the rule of a Taleban regime prepared to protect al-Qaeda or terrorist groups," he told reporters.

Mr Reid denied reports that UK commanders in Afghanistan were urging him to send more troops to the country.




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