Afghan soldier, over 50 Taliban killed in clashes

June 11th, 2009 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Kabul, June 11 (DPA) An Afghan Army soldier and more than 50 militants were killed in separate clashes in Afghanistan as the Taliban have stepped their country-wide attacks, officials said Thursday.
In the latest operation, Afghan forces backed by international troops Thursday killed 25 Taliban militants, including foreign fighters, and wounded 10 others in a firefight in Bala Murghab district of the western Badghis province, the Afghan defence ministry said in a statement.

Four Afghan army soldiers were wounded during the operation, it added.

NATO-led forces also confirmed the incident, but did not give an exact number for the Taliban’s death toll other than saying a “significant number of insurgents” were killed.

The NATO statement said that Italian soldiers, who are deployed to the western region as part of more than 60,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), took part in the operation.

“Two helicopters received minor damage from insurgent small-arms fire, however were still able to continue supporting the operation,” it said.

Meanwhile, Afghan and international forces killed 15 Taliban militants, including an Arab fighter in a clash in Bala Boluk district of the western province of Farahon Wednesday, deputy provincial governor Mohammad Younis Rasouli said.

The Taliban-appointed deputy governor for the province, Mullah Nik Mohammad, was also among the dead, he said, adding that the clash erupted after the local villagers informed the joint forces regarding the presence of the militants in their area.

Separately, one Afghan soldier and 12 Taliban were killed in a clash between Afghan forces backed by international troops and insurgents in Baghlan Markazi district of the northern Baghlan province, the defence ministry said in a separate statement.

The clash took place in the villages of Tiran, Qazaq and Ab-e-Pul Wednesday in an operation aimed at rooting out militants in the area, the statement said.

Three Afghan security forces were wounded, it said.

The latest bloodshed came as thousands of Afghan and international troops began massive operations in different parts of the country to move into new areas before the presidential elections Aug 20.

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