Insurgents from Pakistan attack Afghan district

The Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan border police and US special forces killed more than 150 fighters in a military operation Tuesday night, a provincial spokesman said Wednesday.

"Last night, more 350 fighters, most of them Pakistanis, entered Afghanistan from Pakistan, and attacked in the Barmal district of south eastern Paktika province," Ghamai Khan Mohammed Yari told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in a telephone interview, reported dpa.

He said the ANA and border police, aided by a coalition airstrike, "counter-attacked the militants and after one hour's fighting, more than 150 insurgents were killed, most of them Pakistani nationals."

"A driver with a truck full of explosive materials also was arrested in Angoor Adah area of Barmal district by Afghan forces. The driver was from Multan area of Pakistan," Yari added.

NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan meanwhile abandoned a remote outpost days after militants forced their way inside and killed nine US soldiers, the military said Wednesday.

The ISAF and Afghan forces would still maintain a strong presence in the area and would continue regular patrols around the nearby village of Wanat in the north-eastern province of Kunar, a NATO statement said.

The militants used Wanat to launch Sunday's attack.

In a related development, ISAF forces also said they had killed a Taliban field commander in Kandahar province during an airstrike.

"(Mullah) Mahmoud is reported to have commanded more than 250 Taliban fighters and was responsible for many insurgent operations in Kandahar province," an ISAF statement said.

The statement said intelligence had shown several insurgent commanders meeting to regroup their forces and plan further attacks against the Arghandab district and Kandahar city.

"Afghan forces established observation of the area and called in an airstrike using ISAF aircraft," the statement said.

"Our troops have the initiative in Kandahar province," Brigadier- General Denis Thompson, Commander of Task Force Kandahar, said.

And an ISAF soldier died of non-combat related causes in Parvan province on Wednesday, ISAF officials said. The nationality of the dead soldier was not made public.

"This incident is currently under investigation," a statement said.

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