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Amnesty Says Taliban Deliberately Targeting Civilians

The Taliban has targeted girls schools in particular (file photo) (epa) April 19, 2007 -- Amnesty International says in a new report that Taliban militants have been increasing deliberate attacks on civilians as part of their battle against Afghan government and U.S. and NATO-led forces.

According to the London-based human rights group, Taliban fighters have been increasingly targeting women's rights activists, clerics, government and health workers, and teachers.

Amnesty International accuses the Taliban of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity."

The report says scores of civilians have been deliberately killed by the Taliban in the last two years, and that Taliban fighters burned down at least 183 schools in 2005-06.

A Taliban spokesman interviewed by Amnesty International reportedly said that the Taliban believes there is no difference between the armed forces who are fighting the Taliban and Afghan civilians who are cooperating with the foreigners.

But the Amnesty report says international law clearly forbids any armed group from targeting civilians.

In other news, the U.S. military says Afghan and coalition forces killed three Taliban fighters who had disguised themselves as police and manned an illegal checkpoint.

A U.S. statement says the three were wearing fake uniforms of the Afghan National Police and opened fire on a coalition patrol near Shindand on April 17 in the western Afghan province of Herat.

The statement also says that there have been "multiple reports" in the past two weeks of Taliban fighters impersonating Afghan police and establishing illegal checkpoints to "kidnap and terrorize" local Afghans.

It says that in the last two days, U.S.-led coalition forces in Herat Province have confiscated more than 100 fake Afghan police uniforms and recovered more than a dozen false personnel identification documents.

(AFP, BBC, dpa)

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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