Afghan, NATO forces kill and wound 50 Taliban

Other News Materials 29 October 2007 11:03 (UTC +04:00)

( Reuters ) - Afghan and NATO-forces killed and wounded more than 50 Taliban insurgents in a large operation in southern Afghanistan, the Afghan Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

The clash, in the southern province of Uruzgan on Sunday, comes as troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan forces are conducting a large offensive in the area against Taliban rebels.

"This is part of the Spin Ghar operation which began on Thursday," said Defence Ministry spokesman Zaher Murad. "We don't know exactly how many insurgents were killed, their bodies are still on the battlefield."

He said Afghan and ISAF forces fought the insurgents on the ground and called in air strikes to defeat the rebels. There were no Afghan government or ISAF casualties, he said.

Several dozen Taliban were killed in the fighting, an ISAF spokesman said.

Thirteen insurgents were also captured, Murad said.

Most of the foreign troops in Uruzgan and Dutch and Australian.

Afghan and U.S.-led coalition troops killed more than 80 insurgents on Saturday around the Taliban-held town of Musa Qala in neighbouring Helmand province.

A suicide bomber killed four people, including a policeman and a child, in the provincial capital of Helmand on Monday, the Interior Ministry said.

"The bomber detonated explosive attached to his body in the Lashkar Gah bazaar this morning and killed two civilians, including one child and one Afghan police," said Reuters reporter Abdul Qudoos at the scene of the attack.

Six people, including one policeman, were also wounded in the attack, the Interior Ministry said.

Lashkar Gah is home to the headquarters of the British-led battle group in Helmand which has been involved in some of the heaviest fighting in Afghanistan in the last 18 months.

No foreign troops were wounded in the attack, a British army spokesman said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Taliban insurgents have carried out more than 130 suicide bombs so far this year, killing more than 200 people in their campaign to oust the Afghan government and force foreign troops to leave the country.