The US Defense Department says reports that Taliban forces have taken over
several villages in southern Afghanistan are false.
The Pentagon says a
US patrol in Kandahar province's Arghandab district encountered no Taliban
fighters Tuesday. A Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell says Taliban
forces will be defeated if they try to take Kandahar.
News reports say
hundreds of Taliban militants have taken control of eight villages about 15
kilometers from Kandahar City, where Taliban fighters freed about 400 of their
comrades from a prison on Friday.
A Taliban spokesman was quoted as
saying his forces will attack selected targets in Kandahar City.
reports say thousands of people are leaving their homes in southern Afghanistan,
as Afghan and NATO troops prepare to confront Taliban fighters gathering in the
Witnesses say Taliban militants have
planted land mines and blown up bridges in Arghandab district.
planes have been dropping leaflets urging people to stay indoors in case of
fighting. Local officials have imposed a curfew.
At a press briefing
Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai
not to send troops into Pakistan to attack militants based there. President
Karzai made the threat on Sunday.
Arghandab district lies just north of
Kandahar city, a strategic hub long sought by the Taliban.
invasion pushed the Taliban from power in 2001, but supporters of the extremist
Islamist group remain a deadly threat to the tens of thousands of foreign forces
that remain in Afghanistan.