44 Taliban killed in Afghanistan

November 29th, 2008 - 4:14 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanKabul, Nov 29 (DPA) Afghan soldiers and US-led coalition forces killed 44 Taliban militants, including a commander, in three firefights in southern Afghanistan, officials said Saturday.Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces killed 33 militants in a clash Friday in the Nad Ali district of the southern province of Helmand, the US military said in a statement.

The combined forces were conducting a security patrol when they were engaged by militants firing small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, the statement said.

The joint forces returned fire “primarily with small-arms fire and limited close-air support,” it said.

In another incident, coalition forces killed four Taliban fighters, including a commander, Friday in the Qarabagh district in the southern province of Ghazni, a separate US military statement said.

The targeted commander, Haji Yakub, who was dressed as a woman during the operation, was involved in directing roadside bombings, suicide and other attacks on Afghan and coalition forces, the statement said.

“Intelligence also suggests Yakub facilitated the movements of foreign fighters, weapons and bomb-making materials into Ghazni,” it said.

Coalition forces identified Yakub, who tried to exit the building in disguise with five women, and killed him as he was trying to engage the troops, the statement said.

In a separate incident, Taliban militants attacked a police post Friday in the Pusht-e-Rod district of the southwestern province of Farah, sparking a fierce battle with police forces, the Afghan defence ministry said in a statement.

Afghan soldiers responded and killed seven Taliban attackers, it said, adding that no Afghan security personnel were killed or wounded in the gunbattle.

Taliban-led attacks are on the rise despite the presence of 65,000 international troops from 40 nations in the country.

Afghan and NATO commanders have predicted that the militants plan to continue their insurgency throughout the winter.

Afghanistan’s harsh winter in the past six years brought a lull to the fighting, allowing all sides in the conflict to prepare for spring offensives.

More than 4,000 people - mostly insurgents - have been killed in the country’s conflict so far this year.

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