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Taxi drivers accused of spying forced to drive over roadside bomb

Seven Afghan taxi drivers were killed on Friday after insurgents accused them of spying for the government, forced them into a vehicle and made them drive it over a roadside bomb, a government official said.

KANDAHAR // Seven Afghan taxi drivers were killed on Friday after insurgents accused them of spying for the government, forced them into a vehicle and made them drive it over a roadside bomb, a government official said.

Mohammad Jan Rasoolyar, spokesman for the governor of southern Zabul province, said the taxi drivers transported people between Zabul and neighbouring Kandahar province.

He said they were beaten by the insurgents before being forced into a vehicle and made to drive over a roadside bomb, adding that their taxis were also burned.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, speaking by telephone, denied the group had any role in the killings, blaming "other elements" without giving details.

Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since late 2001, when U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban for refusing to hand over al Qaeda militants, including Osama bin Laden, after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

The insurgency has spread out of its traditional strongholds in the south and east over the past two years into once peaceful areas of the north and west. The north in particular has become a deadly new front in the war.

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