Taliban torch Afghan office; police chief missing

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KABUL, Jan 1 (Reuters) An Afghan police chief was missing after Taliban insurgents raided and torched a district-level government office and clinic, police said today.

The insurgents, who over the past year have mounted their bloodiest campaign of violence since they were ousted from power in 2001, raided a district headquarters in the western province of Farah yesterday night.

Provincial police chief General Sayed Agha Saqib told the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) news agency the district's police chief was missing after the raid in which the Taliban also set fire to a wheat storage depot.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Qari Mohammad Yousaf, told AIP that Taliban fighters had captured the district police chief and nine of his men but Saqib said only the district police chief was missing.

Most Taliban attacks over the past year have been in the south and east, in areas near the Pakistani border, but insurgents have also been launching some raids in western, central and northern areas.


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