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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 July, 2005, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Tribal chief 'hanged by Taleban'
A tribal chief has been kidnapped and hanged in southern Afghanistan. The Taleban say they carried out the act.

Malik Agha, a supporter of President Hamid Karzai, was abducted on Friday, police in Zabul province say. His body was found later in the day.

The Taleban have been blamed for the killing of a number of Mr Karzai's supporters in the run-up to September's parliamentary elections.

Fighting between the Taleban and US-led forces has increased in recent weeks.

More than 30 people, most of them Taleban or their allies, are reported to have been killed since Thursday.

'Against the Taleban'

There are conflicting accounts of the details of Malik Agha's kidnapping. Some say it happened shortly before or after Friday prayers at a mosque in the Ataghar district of Zabul.

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Taleban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi said the Taleban had hanged Mr Agha because he was a spy for America.

High-profile supporters of President Karzai have been targeted on several occasions in recent months.

Four clerics have been killed in separate incidents in different parts of the country blamed on the Taleban.

News of Friday's kidnapping came after Pakistan said it had found the bodies of 24 suspected militants in north Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan.

A Pakistani military spokesman said the bodies were thought to be those of men killed in fighting with US-led forces stationed on the Afghan side.

In another incident on the Afghan side of the border, seven Afghan police are reported to have been killed by the Taleban.




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