15 militants killed in volatile S Afghanistan
www.chinaview.cn 2006-08-22 23:13:26

    KABUL, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- At least 15 insurgents have been killed by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan's volatile southern Helmand province, a local official told Xinhua on Tuesday.

    The 15 militants were killed in Now Zad district on Monday night, said Haji Mohaiuddin, a spokesman for the provincial governor. Earlier reports said nine insurgents were killed in the clash.

    As to the conflict, ISAF said in an earlier statement on Tuesday that some insurgents attempted to attack British troops of ISAF in Now Zad district at around 9:00 p.m. local time (1630 GMT)on Monday.

    The troops identified the rebels and launched an overwhelming response with high explosive ammunition.

    There were no ISAF or civilian casualties, the statement said.

    Helmand, where 3,300 British troops of ISAF are deployed, has been famous for its gigantic opium product and rising Taliban insurgence.

    Also in Now Zad district, ISAF killed an estimated nine insurgents on Sunday night. A prominent insurgent, Hajji Zaheer, is believed to be among the dead. Zaheer apparently has commanded and planned insurgent activities in Now Zad and managed insurgent re-supply in the area.

    Meanwhile, three Canadian soldiers of ISAF were injured, one seriously, on Monday night in an attack by militants in the southern Kandahar province, Maj. Scott Lundy, an ISAF spokesman, said.

    The attack occurred 20 km west of Kandahar city, the provincial capital.

    Kandahar, where 2,100 Canadian troops are deployed, has been a stronghold of the former Taliban regime and other anti-government insurgents, who attack foreign and Afghan government troops frequently.

    ISAF, which has about 21,000 troops, took command in southern Afghanistan from coalition forces on July 31, while coalition troops are mainly deployed in eastern Afghanistan to hunt down militants there.

    Afghanistan is suffering from a rise of Taliban-linked violence this year, during which over 1,800 people, mostly Taliban insurgents, have been killed so far.

    More than 80 foreign troops, most of whom are Americans, have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the past eight months. Enditem

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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