Over 60 Taliban killed in fight with Afghan, NATO forces
NATO and Afghan forces killed more than 60 Taliban militants in country's southern region in separate clashes, officials said Monday, reported dpa.
In the latest attack, Afghan and NATO forces killed 34 Taliban militants in volatile southern Helmand province on Sunday night, Daoud Ahmadi, spokesman for the provincial governor said.
He said several weapons, vehicles and motorbikes used by the militants were recovered by the joint forces.
Separately, Afghan defence ministry said in a statement that their forces killed six Taliban militants in Lashkargah, the provincial capital for the same Helmand province.
Helmand has seen a series of clashes between Taliban and Afghan forces backed by NATO-led British troops in the province. Afghan officials claimed to have killed more than 300 insurgents since the beginning of this year in the province.
In another incident, NATO forces killed more than 20 suspected Taliban militants during a two-day operation in central Afghanistan, the alliance said in a statement Monday.
The insurgents were killed in combat supported by air assaults on Thursday in Wardak province, 60 kilometres west of Kabul.
A statement by NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said that the militants were pushed south from Jalrez to Nerkh district of the same province in the first engagement.
"Upon their arrival in Nerkh, the ISAF soldiers once again received heavy enemy fire," the statement said, adding, "After 10 hours of fighting, ISAF troops countered the insurgent threat and secured both the Jalrez and Nerkh Districts."
No ISAF soldiers were killed during the engagements, it added.
Taliban militants have edged closer to Kabul and launched attacks around the capital city, which houses thousands of foreign troops and is the seat of the Western-backed Afghan government.
Following their ouster from power in late 2001, Taliban militants turned southern and eastern regions of the country into their main strongholds in the fight against Afghan and international forces.
Taliban-led attacks are on the rise despite the presence of around 70,000 foreign troops deployed to Afghanistan from 40 nations. The conflict so far this year has left more than 4,000 people dead.