Families Flee Southern Afghan District as Taliban Takes Over Villages
VOA News
June 17, 2008

Hundreds of families are leaving a district near Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar, as Afghan and NATO troops deploy in the region to fend off Taliban militants.

Officials say some 500 Taliban fighters captured villages in southern Arghandab district Monday, just three days after a Taliban assault on Kandahar's main prison. The prison break freed hundreds of inmates, including many insurgents.

Witnesses say Taliban militants have blown up a number of small bridges in the villages.

A NATO civilian spokesman said Monday the jailbreak put a lot of militants back into circulation. He said Afghan and NATO forces will respond to any potential threats.

Afghan and foreign forces have been battling Taliban insurgents since the U.S.-led coalition pushed the Taliban government from power in late 2001.

NATO has about 53,000 troops in Afghanistan. The United States has contributed nearly half of the troops, and has called on other alliance members for an increased commitment to the war in Afghanistan.

Britain announced Monday it will send 230 more troops to Afghanistan to help the fight, bringing the total British commitment to more than 8,000 by early 2009.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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