Victims of Insurgent Attack May Have Been Caught up in Fight Between Taliban Commanders

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - There are conflicting reports about what led to the beheadings of 17 people in an area of southern Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban.

A local government official initially said the victims were civilians at a celebration last night that involved music and dancing, and that the Taliban killed them for behavior that went against the extreme brand of Islam embraced by the militants.

But a provincial government spokesman now says those who were killed were caught up in a fight between two Taliban commanders over two women, who are among the dead.

The spokesman says shooting broke out during the fight, but that it's not clear whether the music and dancing triggered the violence. It's also not clear whether all of the dead were civilians, or whether they included some fighters.

Meanwhile, NATO isn't commenting on whether the shooting deaths of two American soldiers by one of their Afghan colleagues was intentional or accidental. Afghan officials said they appeared to be an accident, but a Defense Department official says there are indications it was an intentional killing.

The number of Americans killed this month by their Afghan allies now stands at 12.

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