Massive Taliban attack was building up for days

A brazen attack by hundreds of Taliban militants on an isolated town had been building for days, a coalition spokesman said Friday, after a wave of violence in southern Afghanistan left around 100 people dead.

The attack Wednesday night on Musa Qala in the volatile southern province of Helmand sparked eight hours of fighting and left about 40 Taliban and 13 Afghan police dead.

It was the epicenter of some of the fiercest combat since the Taliban regime's ouster by U.S.-led forces in late 2001 and raised new fears about deteriorating security in the hardline militia's former southern heartland.

In all, more than 100 people were reported killed in a string of attacks and engagements across Afghanistan that started Wednesday and continued through Thursday: up to 87 insurgents, at least 15 Afghan police, an American civilian training Afghan forces, and the first female Canadian soldier to die in combat.

There were no reports of further violence Friday.

Coalition forces had reports from Musa Qala on Tuesday that the Taliban or criminal elements were trying to infiltrate the village.

"Then the whole thing blew up" on Wednesday and Thursday, said Maj. Quentin Innis, a coalition spokesman based in Kandahar , reports the AP.

I.L.