Scores killed in Afghan fighting

At least 45 suspected Taliban have been killed in clashes in Afghanistan as the US-led multinational force continues its largest offensive since 2001.

    An anti-Taliban offensive under way involves 10,000 personnel

    About 40 people were killed in an attack on a "known enemy camp" in Uruzgan province, in the south of the country, and another five were killed in a separate operation in the same province, according to the multinational force.

    "Coalition forces have delivered a quick and severe blow to the enemy today," Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Fitzpatrick, a force spokesman, said on Friday.

    Afghan and US soldiers waited until more than 50 people were at the suspected Taliban camp before attacking, Fitzpatrick said. "The compound was severely damaged and we anticipate most of those present were killed."

    The Taliban meeting at the camp included members of a cell of bomb makers, financiers and area leaders responsible for numerous attacks, the multinational force statement said.

    The second raid took place northeast of Tirin Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan, according to a separate statement. One US soldier was wounded when Afghan and Western forces attacked, killing five suspected Taliban fighters.

    At the same time, two multinational force soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in eastern Kunar province.

    Mountain Thrust

    The raids were part of Operation Mountain Thrust, which was launched in mid-May and is supported by more than 10,000 staff, including soldiers and support personnel.

    They follow two days of air strikes and fighting in Paktika province, in the southeast of the country, which the multinational force said had killed about 40 insurgents.

    Aljazeera's correspondent in Islamabad reported quoting a Taliban spokesman that the group's fighters had downed a US helicopter and destroyed two military vehicles in the clashes in Paktika. He added that 10 Taliban had been killed in the fighting. 

    Suspected Taliban forces have increased their attacks in the south of Afghanistan in recent months.

    Kandahar bomb

    Four policemen were killed

    in Kandahar province when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle, provincial officials said. A second roadside device also injured  three girls in the eastern province of Kunar, said Asadullah Wafa, the province's governor.

    The blast occurred in an area where multinational force soldiers were fighting suspected Taliban, he said. US officials confirmed the blast and said they had not received reports of US casualties.

    British soldiers have deployed in
    the most trouble-prone areas

    Elsewhere, an armed man on a motorcycle opened fire on a truck carrying Afghan soldiers near a US base in the southern Helmand province, said Sergeant Roger Larson.

    The man fired off several shots with his AK-47 rifle before Afghan soldiers returned fire, killing him immediately, Larson said. None of the Afghan soldiers suffered injuries.

    Taliban arrests

    In other news, 12 suspected Taliban fighters were arrested by Afghan forces in the Qarabagh district of Ghazni province, the governor Haji Sher Alam said.

    Police had received information that the men would be attending the funeral of a Taliban commander killed during recent fighting.

    Afghan police and soldiers surrounded the home and arrested the men, confiscating a dozen AK-47 assault rifles, eight rocket propelled grenade launchers and four motorbikes, he said.

    More than 500 people, mostly suspected Taliban, have been killed in the past month in Afghanistan.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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