Afghan Police Foil Attack on Oil Tanker, 4 Militants Killed

Police clashed with militants who tried to set fire to an oil tanker in southern Afghanistan, killing four of the suspected Taliban, a police official said Thursday.

Suspected Taliban militants stopped and tried to set alight an oil tanker in southern Zabul province on Wednesday before police confronted them, said Noor Mohammed Paktin, the provincial police chief.

Police killed four militants during the ensuing clash on the main Kanadahar-Kabul highway, Paktin said. One policeman was also injured.

Also Wednesday, NATO-led troops detained five suspected militants, including a regional insurgent leader, as they rode on motorbikes in Zabul's Arghandab district, Paktin said.

The five were sent to a NATO military base for questioning, he said.

CountryWatch: Afghanistan

Southern Afghanistan has been a hotbed of the resurgent Taliban militants, who are battling Afghan and NATO forces with a ferocity that has surprised many foreign military and political leaders.

Authorities on Thursday found the body of a Turkish national who was kidnapped last month along with another Turk whose body was previously recovered, said Yasin Khan, from the private security firm USPI, which assisted authorities in the recovery.

An official with the Turkish construction company Konlit, which employed the victims, said earlier that a security officer by the name of Mustafa Semih Turfal had been kidnapped in August, but there was no information on his whereabouts.

A purported Taliban spokesman claimed on Tuesday that the militants killed the Turk in the Yakhthal area of southern Helmand's Gereshk district after his company failed to meet demands to leave Afghanistan.

An Italian soldier, meanwhile, died and two others were injured when their armored vehicle overturned near the Afghan capital, a NATO statement said Thursday.

The victims were on a patrol just outside the capital late Wednesday when their vehicle overturned on a steep incline, the statement said.