Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 18:11 UK

Taleban's bus killings condemned


Afghan officials and tribal elders have condemned last week's killings by the Taleban of some 30 people dragged off a bus, a number of whom were beheaded.

They spoke out as a memorial service was held for the victims in their home province in the east of Afghanistan.

Schoolchildren carrying black flags took part in the service.

The Taleban say the men were soldiers but the Afghan authorities, witnesses and the men's families said they were civilians travelling to Iran for work.

The killings took place on a highway in Kandahar province last Thursday, close to the border with Helmand, where some of the bodies were found.

'Enemy of the nation'

A memorial service has been held in honour of the men in their home province of Laghman.

The province's governor, Lutfullah Mashal, called a day of national mourning and ordered the national flag to be kept at half mast.

He said: "Taleban are not only the enemy of government and US but of the entire Afghan nation."

So far only 12 bodies have been recovered and the authorities say they are trying to find the others.

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