15 militants killed in AfghanistanMay 1st, 2009 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS
Kabul, May 1 (DPA) At least 15 suspected Taliban fighters were killed in a gunbattle with Afghan and US-led coalition troops in southern Afghanistan, the US military said Friday.
The gunbattle erupted in Zabul province after the militants attacked the convoy of the troops, prompting them to return fire, the US military said, adding that 12 militants were also injured in the fighting that continued for several hours.
However, it did not mention casualties on the Afghan-coalition side.
The fundamentalist Islamist movement Thursday announced it had begun a new countrywide offensive aimed at countering the arrival in the coming months of US and NATO reinforcements.
Mullah Brodar, deputy to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar, said the new operation, dubbed Nasrat, which means victory, is similar to the Taliban’s spring offensives in previous years and would include an increased number of suicide attacks, ambushes and offensive assaults.
But the Taliban also vowed to expand their battleground from the restive southern and eastern parts of the country, where it is most active, to new areas.
With the deployment of 21,000 additional US soldiers and around 5,000 NATO forces, there would be more than 90,000 international troops deployed from 42 nations in Afghanistan by this summer.
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