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Two dozen suspected militants killed in multiple clashes

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-12-09

Authorities say Afghan and coalition forces killed more than two dozen militants in numerous clashes in the country on Friday that also left two Afghan soldiers dead.

Afghan and coalition forces killed more than two dozen militants, including a woman, in separate operations in Afghanistan which also left two Afghan soldiers dead, authorities said Saturday.
Most of the clashes were in southern and eastern parts of the country on Friday, the same day a soldier with the US-led international coalition was shot dead in an incident already announced by the US-led force.
Two soldiers from the US-trained Afghan national army were killed when a remote-controlled bomb blew up their vehicle in the southern province of Helmand, the Afghan defence ministry said in a statement.
It blamed the attack, which wounded two other Afghan soldiers, on Taliban fighters. Six Taliban militants were killed in the same province a day earlier, the statement said.
The US-led force announced separately that its soldiers had killed 19 militants in operations against the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Haqqani networks in Kunar and Khost provinces, both in the east.
The operation in rugged Kunar was aimed at a "known Al-Qaeda leader," it said in a statement.
Troops were fired at immediately as they began searching a compound and returned fire, killing two militants. As they continued, they were attacked again.
"Coalition forces returned fire, killing five armed militants, one of whom was an armed female," the statement said.
A second operation took place in the province of Khost, further south, and aimed at a militant with ties to Taliban and Haqqani networks.
Two militants were killed in a vehicle as they reached for weapons, it said. The vehicle was found to contain explosives and destroyed.
 The US-led force also said in a statement that "Coalition forces killed 10 armed militants and detained two suspected militants during an operation directed at a known Haqqani IED (improved explosive device) and suicide bomber facilitator."
Afghanistan is battling an extremist insurgency that officials say involves various groups and fighters of many nationalities, not just Afghans.
The main group is the Taliban, who were in government between 1996 and 2001 and were driven out for not surrendering their Al-Qaeda allies after the September attacks on the United States.
The Haqqani network, said to be close to Al-Qaeda, was formed under Afghan Soviet-era resistance commander Jalaluddin Haqqani although his son, Siraj, is said to have taken over a leading role.
It is primarily based in the tribal areas of neighbouring Pakistan.
There are 60-70,000 international soldiers in Afghanistan helping to train the Afghan forces and fight the insurgents.
Insurgent attacks are at a record high this year. There are calls for more international troops to be sent to Afghanistan, where there are almost half the number of those in Iraq, and the US is reviewing its strategy here.
Many also hope the appointment this week of experienced counter-insurgency soldier General David Petraeus to the head of US Central Command, which includes Afghanistan, could see improvements in Afghanistan.

Date created : 2008-11-01