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Taliban say killed women poll workers, freed Turk
Updated: 2004-06-26 21:23

The Taliban took responsibility for a bomb attack on Saturday that killed at least two female election workers and a child in the eastern city of Jalalabad and also said they had freed a kidnapped Turkish engineer.

"We did this because we warned people not to get involved in the election process," Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi said of the Jalalabad attack after contacting Reuters by telephone.

An Afghan policeman walks past burning narcotics including about 24kg of heroin, 64kg of opium, and 116kg of hashish in Kabul, June 26, 2004, to mark the U.N.'s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Afghanistan is the world's leading producer of opium and its derivative heroin, with output back at near-record levels following the overthrow of the Taliban by U.S.-led forces in 2001. [Reuters]
"We are also warning others not to register to vote and those who register them, because this only strengthens the foundations of the American-backed government."

Hakimi said the Taliban claimed responsibility too for the killing of two U.S. Marines in an ambush in the eastern province of Kunar on Thursday night.

Hakimi said the guerrillas had freed a Turkish engineer and his driver they kidnapped in March in an ambush in the southern province of Zabul in which another Turk was killed.

"We released him firstly due to mediation by elders in Zabul, secondly because he is a Muslim and thirdly because he was not spying on the Taliban," he said.

A government official confirmed the release, but said he had no other details.

Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency quoted Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as saying Turkey secured the release of the engineer, named as Salih Aksoy, after months of work. He was taken to the country's embassy in the city.

The engineer was working on a U.S.-funded road project when he was kidnapped.

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