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Three Police Officers Killed In Southern Afghanistan

Afghan officials prepare to burn a drugs haul in Helmand Province (file photo) (AFP) March 11, 2006 -- Authorities say two police officers were kidnapped from their homes in southern Afghanistan and later beheaded and their bodies dumped in the desert.

Ghulam Muhiddin, a spokesman for the local government in Helmand Province, said on March 11 it is not clear whether the Taliban or drug gangs were behind the murders.

The men were abducted from their homes on the outskirts of provincial capital Lashkargar late on March 10. Their decapitated bodies were discovered on March 11.

In other violence, a roadside bomb hit a police patrol in the Nad Ali district in Helmand Province, killing a police officer and wounding five others.

Violence has increased in Helmand in recent weeks. Taliban forces have purportedly vowed to defend the region's opium farmers against security forces who recently launched a campaign in Helmand to eradicate poppies.


Helmand Province Governor Comments

Helmand Province Governor Comments

U.S. Marines operating in Helmand Province in 2002 (epa)

RULING A RESTIVE LAND: On February 12, RFE/RL Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent Jawaid Wafa spoke briefly with Helmand Province Governor MOHAMMAD DAOUD about the ongoing violence in his restive region on the border with Pakistan.

RFE/RL: Recently, there have been many clashes and attacks by insurgents in Helmand Province. What in your view facilitates these attacks, especially in Helmand?

Mohammad Daoud: This province has a 160-kilometer border with Pakistan's Baluchistan Province. In reality, armed people, armed terrorists, from the other side of the border cross the border into Helmand. They carry out attacks and return back. It is a serious problem in Helmand that within our borders there is neither tribal good will, nor are there are special military or security measures to prevent enemies from crossing back and forth.

RFE/RL: The attacks and clashes have not only been between government forces and insurgents. There have been various clashes in different parts of Helmand between police and purported drug smugglers. How do you explain this?

Daoud: Drug smugglers also use the border for their own purposes. They have opened markets on the border and process opium there. This is a serious problem along our border. We are in touch with our authorities on this problem.

RFE/RL: There are government border police patrol your border. What is their role in preventing illegal crossings?

Daoud: Along this 160-kilometer border, there are car routes, walking routes. We have border police, but unfortunately, either because of their own problems or because of weak administration, they have not been able to stop the crossing.


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