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    Uprising against Taliban gains momentum

    KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Residents of several villages in the Taliban-infested Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province have launched an armed resistance against the militants, who made Kandahar their spiritual base during their regime.

    The uprising involving residents of three villages -- Shadola, Shabozai and Koshak -- was initiated in Kakaran, Mamak Koh, Khugyani and Abkhin Koh areas by a large number of young men.

    Residents say they have taken up guns against the anti-government fighters after long suffering at their hands. The uprising is being waged 10 kilometres from the district centre, 25 kilometres west of Kandahar City, where vast swathes of agriculture land exist.

    Members of the uprising told Pajhwok Afghan News they had so far killed three armed insurgents and detected and defused 20 roadside bombs.

    A resident of Zangabad area, Abdul Wadood, who leads the uprising, said the Taliban were not only harassing residents, but they had kept them deprived of basic facilities of life over the past many years.

    He claimed schools and health clinics in their villages had been shut due to insecurity created by the insurgents. Wadood accused the Taliban of killing and breaking the bones of a large number of people the militants suspected of having links with the government.

    "Residents have been compelled into picking up guns against the Taliban," he said, putting at 65 the number of youth taking part in the uprising. He said youth had support from 300 families. He urged the government to initiate welfare projects in their areas and they would keep security for the schemes.

    Toting guns, a large number of young men were seen searching for landmines. One of them was Mohammad Qasim, who said he knew it was a life-threatening job to detect and defuse bomb, but he would do it for the sake of people's lives.

    The fighters who had foreign backing had many times dragged out residents of their homes and taken them away on the allegations of having links with government forces, he said. Many were found beheaded later, he added.

    Panjwai police chief Col. Sultan Mohammad, promising guns and bullets, said he had launched efforts to get the uprising members recruited to local police force.

    The district administrative chief, Fazl Mohammad Ishaqzai, said the Afghans had realised the reality behind their country's conflict and now they were refusing to breathe under the swords. He said the uprising would be assisted through the involvement of provincial council members.

    Governor's spokesman Javed Faisal said the uprising that began a few days ago had resulted in driving Taliban from several villages in the district.

    He said 180 landmines were found and defused by the uprising members in cooperation with local police personnel.

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