32 injured in Paktia blast
* US and Afghan soldiers kill Taliban militant, arrest 22
KABUL: Two adults and 30 children were injured in a blast near a school in southern Afghanistan’s Paktia province, the US military said in a statement late on Saturday.
The cause of the explosion in Zurmat district in the southern Afghan province, which is a stronghold for loyalists of the ousted Taliban regime, was still under investigation, it added.
“Coalition personnel provided immediate emergency medical treatment to the injured and evacuated the two adults to Forward Operating Base Salerno for treatment,” the statement said.
AFP said Paktia authorities could not be reached for comment. In Kandahar, US and Afghan soldiers killed a suspected Taliban militant and arrested 22 others after a shootout in the forbidding mountain region of Zabul province, military officials said.
No Afghan or American soldiers were injured in the fighting, which broke out on Friday and was continuing on Saturday, Governor Khial Muhammad told AP. “This operation was launched to improve security for the people of Zabul,” he said.
“One individual that we believe was Taliban, was killed,” military spokesman Major Scott Nelson said. He confirmed the operations and said 22 Taliban suspects had been arrested. “We did have a major operation there,” he said. It was not clear how many American and Afghan soldiers were taking part. Nelson said the military would release more information soon.
Meanwhile, a renegade Afghan warlord has been arrested and brought to the capital by the central government, just weeks after his troops clashed with militiamen loyal to a powerful regional governor, Afghan officials said.
Amanullah, a Pushtoon warlord, was brought to Kabul on Friday from Herat, said Jawed Ludin, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai. He said Amanullah agreed to the transfer, but a senior official said, “He does not have the freedom to go back. He is in custody.”
Dozens were killed in fighting which broke out earlier this month between militiamen loyal to Amanullah and those that answer to Herat Governor Ismail Khan, an ethnic Tajik strongman.
Ludin said the action against Amanullah was one in a series of steps that will unfold in the coming days. “What happened to Amanullah was part of a wider plan to take all necessary measures to secure long-term stability in the region.”
Government officials indicated that the move was part of efforts to eliminate private armies that have quarrelled among themselves in recent months. The fighting alarmed Kabul and the United Nations (UN) and underscored the need to improve security ahead of the landmark elections scheduled for October 9. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for an urgent increase in international forces in Afghanistan ahead of the elections. agencies