Mullah Omar vows to keep up fighting
Fifteen Afghan security guards were killed in a Taliban ambush in western Afghanistan Tuesday, police said, as two police and several Taliban rebels died in other clashes across the country.
Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar meanwhile vowed to keep fighting through the winter and attack Afghan and international troops who drove his fighters from a southern town last week.
The guards working for a private US firm identified as USPI were killed when Taliban fighters ambushed them in Bala Buluk district of the western province of Farah early Tuesday, police official Colonel Saydo Khan told AFP.
Nine other guards were injured in the ambush on a civilian supply convoy headed to a Western military base in the region, Khan said.
"We have evacuated the wounded to the hospital," he said.
Provincial governor Mohaiuddin Baluch confirmed the incident but had no details about the casualties.
The insurgents regularly attack convoys that supply military bases in the region and have also targeted food aid convoys from the World Food Programme.
Farah neighbours southern Helmand province -- the Taliban's biggest stronghold -- and has seen growing unrest in the past year, with the militants able to briefly capture several districts in recent months.
In a new offensive, dozens of rebels stormed the Khak-i-Safed district overnight but were pushed back by police, Baluch said. The rebels lost three fighters, he said.
The Islamic rebels briefly captured Khak-i-Safed and adjoining Gulistan districts late last month but were ejected after Afghan and Nato troops moved in.
The rebels, in government from 1996 to 2001, have seized remote districts from time to time, mainly in southern Afghanistan, but have usually not been able to hold them for long.