Afghan warlords were bribed to prevent attacks on Italy's troops, a Taliban commander alleged yesterday. Mohammed Ishmayel said the two groups agreed not to attack each other after tens of thousands of dollars were paid to Taliban chiefs. Ishmayel said the deal was sealed in the Sarobi area, east of Kabul. France took control of the apparently low-risk area last year, where only one Italian had died in the previous year. But the French misjudged the danger in the district and within a month the Taliban had killed 10 French soldiers and injured 21 others in area. The allegations have sparked fury in France with President Sarkozy vowing not to send any more soldiers to Afghanistan. On Thursday it was claimed that US special forces had killed a Taliban leader who had been receiving payments. However, the Italian Defence Minister said the allegations were "complete rubbish". And Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's office said the Government had "never authorised nor has it allowed any form of payment towards members of the Taliban insurgency". Since the invasion of Afghanistan, 22 Italian troops have been killed, six in one attack in Kabul last month. There are 2,795 Italians serving in Afghanistan, which works out as 0.7 deaths per 100 troops. Britain has suffered 221 deaths among its 9,000 troops, or 2.4 fatalities per 100 soldiers.