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Taliban Set Fire to Afghan Fuel Tankers, Casualties Expected

Afghan Taliban guerrillas claimed responsibility for setting fire to at least 400 fuel tankers in the outskirts of Kabul last night, causing casualties and triggering a protest by drivers demanding reimbursement for their losses.

The cause of the incident is still “unclear and unknown,” and casualties are expected, said Hashmat Stanekzai, a Kabul police spokesman, in a phone interview. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed claimed responsibility for the attack in an e-mailed statement, and said the tankers were supplying fuel to NATO forces.

Drivers protested the government’s failure in repelling the attack and the slow response in extinguishing the fire. The protesters blocked a highway linking southern Kandahar province to Kabul and demanded reimbursement for their losses.

The incident occurred as Taliban fighters battle Afghan forces over control of Helmand province in the south of the country.

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