Afghan violence leaves 45 including 5 civilians dead

At least 45 people including five civilians, four NATO soldiers and more than 36 Taliban fighters were killed in a series of clashes and roadside attacks in Afghanistan, officials said Friday, dpa reported. US-led coalition forces claimed that their forces along with Afghan soldiers killed 30 suspected Taliban including one of their commanders, Mullah Sadiq, in Shindand district of western Herat province on Friday, US military said in a statement. The militants according to the statement attacked the combined forces from inside the houses as they were on their way to detain a Taliban commander. Joint forces responded their attack with small arms fire and called in air forces to pound the insurgents' positions. General Zahir Azimi, Afghan defence ministry spokesman confirmed the clash, but said that five of the 30 killed in the operation were civilians. It was not clear that why the two sources involved in the operation provided the media with contradictory reports. Due to the remoteness of the area, it was difficult to verify the exact death toll independently. Meanwhile, a US-led coalition soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, a separate US military statement said. It did not disclose the nationality of the dead soldier. Most of the soldiers serving under coalition forces are from the US. In a similar roadside attack three NATO-led Canadian soldiers were killed and another was wounded in Zherai district of Kandahar province on Wednesday, the military said on Friday. The soldiers, who were serving under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were in a vehicle when it was struck Wednesday by the bomb in the Zherai district of Kandahar province, the Canadian military said. "All four soldiers were evacuated to Kandahar Airfield," Brigadier General Denis Thompson, a Canadian military commander, told reporters at the base. "Sadly, three of the soldiers were confirmed dead by medical authorities." The injured soldier was reported to be in serious but stable condition, he said. The ISAF in Kabul also confirmed the deaths of its soldiers in a statement issued Friday. Three Polish soldiers in the ISAF were killed in a similar roadside attack Wednesday in the east-central province of Ghazni while a day earlier, 10 French soldiers were killed in a Taliban ambush east of Kabul. Meanwhile, 11 Taliban militants were killed in an operation conducted by Afghan and international forces in Khas Uruzgan district of southern Uruzgan province on Thursday, Juma Gul Hemat, provincial police chief said. Three Afghan soldiers were wounded in the operation and the combined forces recovered the dead bodies of the militants, he said. In another incident in north-eastern province of Kapisa, coalition forces killed "multiple militants" by small arms fire and airstrike in Tag Aab district of the province on Thursday, the US military said in a statement. It said the coalition forces operation targeted a Taliban commander, who was involved in smuggling weapons and foreign fighters into Afghanistan, as well as organizing suicide attacks against international forces, it said, but did not say if the targeted militant was among the dead rebels. Taliban militants have stepped up their attacks against Afghan and international forces in the past three months, using mostly suicide and roadside bombings. More than 180 international soldiers and more than 3,000 other people - mostly insurgents - have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

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