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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 10:53 GMT
Afghan fighting leaves three dead
Locator map showing Afghanistan
Two militants and one policeman have been killed in eastern Afghanistan after militants clashed with Afghan and US forces, officials say.

The fighting started after militants attacked Afghan police and US forces in the province of Ghazni, they said.

They said six men were detained, three of whom were wounded in the clash.

Meanwhile US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, speaking at the main US base at Bagram, has ruled out any rapid pullout of US forces from Afghanistan.


He said while the US was planning to reduce its troops in Afghanistan, withdrawing forces rapidly would impede operations against al-Qaeda fighters and their allies.

"If we were to withdraw from Afghanistan precipitously, or from Iraq, the terrorists would attack us first somewhere else and then they would attack us at home, let there be no doubt," Mr Rumsfeld said.

Violence linked to insurgency has left more than 1,400 people dead in Afghanistan this year - the worst violence in the country since US-led forces ousted the Taleban in late 2001.

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