Over 100 “insurgents” killed in Afghan battle: U.S.

KABUL (Reuters) – More than 100 suspected insurgents were killed in a battle with U.S.-led troops in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.The battle erupted after a convoy of Afghan and U.S. coalition forces came under attack in Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar province, it said in a statement.

U.S.-led close air support attacked insurgent positions in the battle, it added.

“Afghan National Security Forces, advised by coalition forces, engaged and eliminated more than 100 insurgent fighters in a battle that started this morning and is still continuing in northern Kandahar province,” the U.S. military said.

There were no civilian casualties but one Afghan security force member was killed and three foreign troops and three Afghan soldiers were wounded, it added.

No official from the Taliban, who lead the insurgency against Western troops and the Afghan government, could be immediately reached for comment.

There was no independent verification of the reported deaths of the insurgents.

Taliban spokesman often accuse Western troops of exaggerating insurgent casualties, while Western forces accuse the Taliban of exaggerating the number of casualties on the U.S., NATO and Afghan government side.

If confirmed, the Taliban toll would be the highest for many weeks.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan in the past 19 months, the bloodiest period since U.S.-led troops overthrew the Taliban government in 2001.

Nine Western soldiers, most of them American, have been killed in Taliban attacks in recent days in several parts of Afghanistan.

Some 50,000 Western troops under the command of NATO and the U.S. military are in the country hunting Taliban and al Qaeda allies.

They are backed by more than 100,000 Afghan soldiers, police and security agents.

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