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20 Taliban killed in southern Afghanistan ops: officials

world Updated: Oct 12, 2009 21:28 IST
Twenty Taliban militants

Twenty Taliban militants were killed and a number arrested in separate operations involving foreign forces and Afghan troops, police, military commanders and the government said Monday.

The commander of border police in southern Afghanistan, General Saifullah Hakim, said 14 Taliban were killed when more than 60 insurgents attacked them in Shorabak district of Kandahar province at about 10:00 pm (1730 GMT) Sunday.

"Fourteen enemies were killed. Three bodies were left at the scene and the rest of them were taken away. Nine (Taliban) were wounded," he told AFP.

The militants came from neighbouring Pakistan and retreated back over the border after the attack, police said.

In a second incident, Afghan National Army (ANA) senior commander in the south General Shir Mohammad said three Taliban were killed and two arrested in a joint operation in Qala-e-Gal village in Sangin, Helmand province on Sunday.

A third incident saw three militants killed in a similar operation on Sunday in Omar Khil village, in southern Zabul province, the defence ministry in Kabul said in a statement.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said a rocket-propelled grenade, ammunition belt and communications equipment were found at the scene and destroyed.

ISAF, meanwhile, added that a suspected Taliban commander and several militants thought to be linked to the drugs industry in Nahri Sarraj district, Helmand, were arrested on Sunday.

"Haji Khan Mohammed is considered a senior power broker in the district, and it is believed that his drug operations provided financial support to enemy fighters throughout southern Afghanistan," a statement said.

Forty rocket-propelled grenades, two ammunition vests, several thousand machine-gun rounds, equipment for making roadside bombs, three AK-47 assault rifles and 20 mortar rounds were destroyed at the scene, it added.

ISAF said that none of its troops died in the operations but the Afghan defence ministry said three ANA soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Gardaseri district in southern Pakyta province.