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20 Taliban dead in NATO-Afghan air raids

world Updated: Nov 06, 2007 14:54 IST

AFP
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At least 20 Taliban-linked rebels were killed in joint NATO-Afghan air raids in western Afghanistan, an army general said on Tuesday.

The raids by NATO planes and Afghan helicopter gunships targeting suspected militant hideouts in western Badghis province, on the border with Turkmenistan, were conducted late on Monday, General Morad Ali told AFP.

"We carried out an operation on known terrorist hideouts. About 20 enemies were killed," said the general, who is the military commander for western Afghanistan. Other fighters fled, he added.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, which is helping to quell a bloody Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, confirmed it was involved in the operation but could not give details.

Taliban militants are mostly active in southern and eastern Afghanistan but have extended their campaign into western regions in recent months, capturing two districts there last week.

The extremist Taliban were in government for five years until they were toppled in a US-led invasion in late 2001.

The insurgency has claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people, mostly rebels, since January.