Karzai: Afghans Still Don't Have Personal Security

By Salon Staff

Published December 17, 2011 2:36PM (EST)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his homeland has achieved political stability, but Afghans still do not feel personally secure in their daily lives.

Karzai told CNN in an interview to be aired on Sunday that the U.S.-led military coalition and Afghan forces have slowed the Taliban's march. But he adds that it will take time to be sure the insurgents' momentum has been reversed.

According to a transcript of the interview released on Saturday, Karzai also said his government would welcome a decision by the Taliban to open a political office — which he believes would signal their willingness to try to find a nonviolent resolution to the decade-long war.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan security forces and international troops freed 11 Afghan policemen kidnapped by militants nearly two weeks ago, the Defense Ministry said Saturday.

Militants abducted the Afghan policemen Dec. 5 during an ambush in Wardooj district of Badakhshan province. Two policemen were killed and four others wounded during the kidnapping, said Sayed Hussain Safawi, deputy provincial police chief.

Afghan border police and international troops rescued the policemen on Friday after local elders' attempts to mediate their release failed. About two dozen suspected insurgents were arrested during the rescue.

Separately, in the east, the U.S.-led coalition and local Afghan officials have released differing accounts of a raid on a home around 1 a.m. Saturday in Ahmadaba district of Paktia province.

The governor of Paktia province condemned what he said was a raid on the home of the Afghan government's counternarcotics chief in the province, the governor's spokesman, Rohullah Samon, said. He said local authorities, who believe the counternarcotics chief has not committed any crime, have contacted the coalition about getting him released.

After international troops exchanged gunfire with guards at the house, they detained the counternarcotics chief and two of his sons, he said. An Afghan woman and another member of the counternarcotics chief's family were killed and three other women were injured, Samon said.

The coalition said the three men detained included a leader with the Haqqani militant network, which is affiliated with al-Qaida and the Taliban. Two AK-47 assault rifles, a bolt-action rifle, ammunition and a grenade were confiscated from the compound.

A joint Afghan-NATO force returned gunfire coming from the house, the coalition said. After the shooting stopped, they called for those inside to come out.

Two Afghan women inside were wounded and evacuated to a medical facility and one later died of a gunshot wound, the coalition said.

Salon Staff

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