May 31, 2006 -- A police commander in southern Afghanistan is denying reports today that 12 police officers were killed and many others abducted during an overnight battle against suspected Taliban.
Rozi Khan, a regional police chief in Oruzgan Province, told RFE/RL that police did not suffer any casualties during the battle in the province's Chora district.
But Rozi Khan confirmed that militants captured the district headquarters from Afghan security forces.
"The information that I have so far says that the Taliban attacked three places overnight [in the Chora district]," he said. "They burned the district administration building, the district police chief's headquarters, and a school."
Rozi Khan said the militants had left the police compound by late morning. But he said they still controlled strategic positions from which they could ambush any returning security forces.
An official in Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed today that 40 police officers were captured and 12 killed in the battle. A self-proclaimed Taliban spokesman has made similar claims.
(compiled from RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan and agency reports)