Afghan, coalition forces kill over 70 Taleban

KABUL – Afghan security officials claimed on Saturday to have killed some 70 suspected Taleban in a clash in south-eastern Afghanistan in which US-led coalition close air support was also used, while several dozens more were killed in a separate attack.

The firefight took place in Samkanai district of Paktia province on Friday afternoon and lasted until late evening, Abdul Rahman Sarjang, provincial police chief, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

He said that the operation which was carried out jointly by Afghan police, army and coalition forces resulted in the death of some 70 Taleban included Chechen, Arab and Pakistani fighters. One policeman was also killed, Sarjang said.

General Murad Ali, deputy army commander for the eastern region, said that 65 different types of weapons were also seized by the joint forces. Ali said that the operation was conducted after the joint Afghan border police and coalition forces came under fire by Taleban fighters.

Coalition forces also said in a statement that their joint patrol with Afghan forces was ambushed by a group of insurgents in Paktia province, near the Pakistani border.

During the eight-hour clash in which air support was also called in, several Taleban were killed, the statement said, without giving any figures.

Meanwhile, several dozen Taleban were killed in north-eastern Kapisa province in a coalition airstrike on Friday after the militants attacked a joint convoy of Afghan and coalition forces in the Al Asay area of the province, the US military said in a statement.

The clashes came a day after some 14 suspected Taleban were killed and 10 others wounded when a coalition airstrike destroyed a convoy of their seven vehicles in the Bakwa district of western Farah province on Thursday.

The militancy so far this year has left over 1,400 people dead, most of them insurgents.

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