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U.S. Says Afghan Government Must Build Up Authority --> President Karzai addressing tribal leaders in Konar Province last month (RFE/RL) June 12, 2006 -- The U.S. ambassador in Kabul says the Afghan government must build up its presence in remote areas of the country and gain the respect of the population.

Ambassador Ronald Neumann told journalists today that the solution to defeating the Taliban rests not only with the military but also in establishing the government's authority.

Earlier today, Afghan General Rahmatullah Raufi said Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces had killed up to 37 suspected Taliban, including a man believed to be related to the movement's leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar.

Raufi said 15 suspected rebels were killed on June 11 during an attack on their hideout in the southern Oruzgan Province.

He said 12 others were killed the same day during coalition bombing in neighboring Kandahar Province.

Raufi says 10 Taliban are believed to have been killed in a separate battle in Helmand Province.

(AFP, AP, Reuters)

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