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NATO planes pound Taliban targets

Latest update : 2008-05-29

Fierce fighting rocked Afghanistan's western Farah province as NATO warplanes targeted a militant compound, killing 30 Taliban fighters, according to Afghan security officials.

NATO warplanes pounded a militant compound in southwest Afghanistan, killing 30 Taliban fighters, after clashes that left three Afghan police and troops dead, officials said Thursday.
The rebels, who included Pakistani fighters, had moved into Farah province from neighbouring Helmand a few days earlier, an Afghan army commander and a police chief said.
Afghan soldiers and police and troops from NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Wednesday surrounded their compound in the Bala Buluk district, the army commander for western Afghanistan told AFP.
In initial fighting two Afghan soldiers and a policeman were killed and several were wounded.
"Later, ISAF air planes bombed the fort and 30 Taliban including their ranking commanders were killed," said the commander, Jalandar Shah Behnam. "There is no one left inside the fort," he said.
The Farah deputy police chief, Mohammad Nabi Popal, also said 30 Taliban were killed and one of his policemen.
"They were mostly Taliban from Helmand and some Pakistani Taliban who infiltrated our province from neighbouring Helmand province," he said.
ISAF did not immediately comment.
The NATO force has been carrying out intense operations in Helmand over the past weeks, saying it has caused significant losses to rebels particularly in the Garmser district on the border with Pakistan.
The district is said to be a Taliban gateway into Afghanistan from Pakistan, where extremists are said to have bases and training camps.
Popal said ISAF planes also bombed another area of Farah overnight after Taliban attacked police, wounding three of them.
"Heavy casualties were inflicted to Taliban but we don't have confirmed figure," he said, adding "up to 15 may have been killed."

Date created : 2008-05-29