Afghan army claims 80 Taliban killed in airstrikes

Nearly 80 suspected Taliban militants were killed in coalition airstrikes and clashes with Afghan forces, while four Afghan policemen were killed in a roadside bomb blast in southern region, officials said Wednesday, dpa reported. More than 40 suspected Taliban militants were killed in Sarobi district of south-eastern province of Paktika on Tuesday afternoon after the militants ambushed a police patrol in the area, Mohammad Akram Khepilwak, provincial governor told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
He said five policemen were wounded and the ground forces called coalition airstrikes on the Taliban near the border with Pakistan.
"Coalition forces bombed the Taliban and killed more than 40 militants," he said, adding that the militants' dead bodies were still on the battlefield.
Another group of Taliban fighters attacked a police patrol in Kheshawand district of the same Paktika province on Wednesday morning, wounding a policeman, Khepilwak said.
He said that the police forces fought back and killed eight suspected militants.
In a separate incident, Taliban militants attacked a police post in Nad Ali district in southern Helmand province on Tuesday night, but suffered 18 fatalities, Mohammad Hussain Andewal, provincial police chief, said.
He claimed that no Afghan police forces were killed or wounded in the attack.
A suicide bomber attacked near a British military base in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province on Tuesday, killing himself and wounding three civilians, Andewal said.
British troops were not in the area when the explosion occurred, he said.
US-led coalition forces claimed Wednesday to have killed more than a dozen Taliban insurgents in volatile southern Afghanistan, while another four were detained by the combined forces elsewhere.
"The troops engaged the militants with small arms, machine guns, and close air support, killing more than a dozen militants," the statement said.
No Afghan or coalition soldiers were hurt in the incident, the military claimed.
Due to the remoteness of the area, it was difficult to independently verify the US military's assertions.
Four police troops were also killed when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Gilan district of southern Ghazni province on Tuesday, Sayed Ismail Jahangir, spokesman for provincial governor said.
Four suspected militants were detained Tuesday by Afghan and coalition forces in the south-eastern province of Paktika, near the border with Pakistan, the statement said.
The combined forces were targeting a rebel who was facilitating the movement of foreign fighters and weapons from Pakistan into Afghanistan, it said.
Afghan and US officials have accused the Taliban of having bases inside Pakistan, from where they cross the border and stage attacks on Afghan and international forces.
More than 3,500 people - mostly insurgents - have been killed in violence in Afghanistan so far this year, according to figures provided by Afghan and foreign military sources.

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