Eleven Taliban, five police, dead in Afghan clash
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, May 15 (Reuters) Afghan police killed 11 Taliban in a battle near the southern town of Kandahar in which five policemen were also killed, Afghan government officials said today.
The Taliban, fighting to oust foreign forces and Afghanistan's Western-backed government, have intensified their insurgency this year. Hundreds of people have been killed in bomb attacks, ambushes and clashes.
The fighting in Panjwai district, 30 km (20 miles) west of Kandahar town, erupted yesterday after police got word that some Taliban were hiding there and went to search for them, police said.
Police commander Shahwali Khan said five policemen were killed and seven wounded.
A spokesman for provincial Governor Mohammad Daoud Ahmadi said 11 Taliban were also killed.
Kandahar is the main town in the Afghan south and was a bastion of Taliban support during their rule.
U S and other foreign forces, including Canadian and British contingents, operate out of a sprawling base at the town's airport.
The base occasionally comes under rocket attack but no casualties have been caused in several blasts in recent months.
The Taliban were ousted in late 2001 after refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden, architect of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
REUTERS AK DS1145