'Taliban deaths' in Afghan attack

Nato says its forces killed 30 fighters who stormed a combat outpost in southern Paktika province.

    Isaf said five of its soldiers were injured in Saturday's attack [GALLO/GETTY]

    Nato-led troops have killed more than 30 Taliban fighters after their base was attacked in Paktika province in southern Afghanistan, the military coalition has said.

    Fighters attacked the remote outpost "from all directions" using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms fire, the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said in a statement on Saturday.

    "Initial operational reporting indicates more than 30 insurgents were killed in the failed attack," the statement read.

    Zemarai, an Afghan army general, said the bodies of at least 15 fighters were seen lying on the
    battlefield after the attack.

    Afghan troops were still collecting bodies at the site, Isaf said.

    It said five Isaf soldiers were injured in the attack.

    Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said they had attacked the base and that six police outposts had been overrun in the attack.

    Speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location, Mujahid said Taliban fighters had inflicted "high casualties" on Isaf and Afghan forces but gave no further details.

    He said eight Taliban fighters had been killed.

    Pre-dawn attack

    James Bays, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul, the Afghan capital, said the attack took place in the early hours, at 1.30 in the morning.

    "The Nato release says the number [of attackers] was about 30 but we spoke to the Taliban leader who said the number of attackers was 70," he said.

    "It was won in the end by close air support from planes and helicopters that were called into the area."

    The Taliban and other armed groups have launched a series of brazen assaults on foreign bases and government buildings in the past year in a bid to topple the government and force out foreign troops.

    Last month, five suicide bombers were killed during an attack on a similar-sized base in neighbouring Paktia province, to the north of Paktika.

    More than 2,000 foreign troops have been killed in the conflict since US-led forces invaded the country and drove out the Taliban from Kabul in 2001.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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