Two Taliban commanders among 17 killed in Afghanistan

February 16th, 2009 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanKabul, Feb 16 (DPA) Afghan army troops and US-led forces killed at least nine militants, including two of their commanders, in western Afghanistan, while eight other rebels were killed in a clash with Afghan and NATO forces in southern region, officials said Monday.

Mullah Dastigir and eight of his fighters were killed in an US military airstrike in Darya-ye-Morghab village in western Badghis province, close to border with Turkmenistan Sunday night, US military said in a statement.

“Once the exact location of the militants was confirmed, forces engaged the target compound with a precision airstrike, destroying a building and killing the militants inside,” it said.

The defence ministry claimed that 12 rebels including two of their commanders, Mullah Dastagir and Mullah Baz Mohammad, were killed in the operation.

Taliban spokesmen were not available to confirm the incident. Due to remoteness of the area, it was difficult to verify the claimed death toll independently.

Both the US and Afghan defence ministry statement said that the dead militants were involved in an ambush against Afghan forces in November last year in the region that left 13 Afghan soldiers dead.

Meanwhile, General Mohaiyodin Ghori, an Afghan army commander in southern region, said his troops backed by NATO forces killed eight militants in Nad Ali district of southern Helmand province Sunday.

The clash took place in Khoshal area of the district after the joint patrol of Afghan and NATO forces came under fire from the militants in the area, he said.

The bodies of the militants along with their weapons were left behind on the battlefield, Ghori said, adding that there were no casualties among the combined forces.

The incident in Helmand province happened on the same day as NATO military announced the deaths of two of its soldiers, who were killed in two separate military actions in the southern region.

The militants have steadily gained power and extended their writ to larger swathes of the country in the past three years. They turned 2008 into a bloodiest year since 2001.

More than 5,000 people were killed in conflict last year.

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