More than 100 Taliban killed in Afghanistan fighting

August 28th, 2008 - 9:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, Aug 28 (DPA) US-led coalition and Afghan forces killed more than 100 suspected Taliban militants in four days of fighting and airstrikes in the southern province of Helmand, the coalition said Thursday.The fighting occurred from Monday through Thursday when Afghan and coalition forces were attacked by insurgents “multiple times”, sparking several engagements, a coalition statement said.

“The patrols returned fire and called in close-air support against the insurgents,” it said, adding that no Afghan or coalition forces or civilian casualties were reported.

The Afghan defence ministry also said Thursday that its troops, backed by international forces, killed around 10 militants in Helmand’s Nad Ali district. It said the fighting in Nad Ali was ongoing.

Earlier this month, the Taliban claimed to have overrun Nad Ali, but Afghan police rejected its claims and said they withdrew from two security posts but the rest of the district was in government hands.

Helmand province is the main hotbed for Taliban militants. Its governor recently said that hundreds of foreign fighters have penetrated the province to help the Taliban insurgents based in the region.

The defence ministry also said its forces killed and wounded 18 suspected Taliban militants in a clash Wednesday in the Arghandab district of the southern province of Zabul.

Due to the remoteness of the area, it is often difficult to independently verify the claimed death tolls.

Meanwhile, a soldier from the US-led coalition was killed when attacked while on patrol in southern Afghanistan, a statement issued by the US military said Thursday.

The statement did not disclose the nationality of the soldier or provide details about the location of the incident.

Most of the soldiers serving under the coalition banner are from the US.

More than 3,500 people - mostly insurgents but also including more than 180 international soldiers - 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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