8 militants killed in gunbattle at Afghan airport | world | Hindustan Times
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8 militants killed in gunbattle at Afghan airport

world Updated: Jun 30, 2010 13:11 IST

Eight militants were killed in a gunbattle after a suicide car bombing on Wednesday at the entrance to an airport outside the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, airport authorities said.

After the car bombing, a group of militants, using light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, battled international forces for 30 minutes, according to information provided by the media office at the airport.

The Taliban claimed responsibility. In a text message to The Associated Press in Kabul, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said six suicide attackers killed 32 foreign and Afghan security forces at the airport, about 125 kilometers (78 miles) east of the Afghan capital.

The militant group frequently exaggerates its claims. Ghafor Khan, a spokesman for the provincial police chief in Nangarhar province, said that during the fighting, international forces blocked access to the area and helicopters patrolled overhead. The airport is situated on a main road on the outskirts of the city that leads to the Pakistani border.

NATO said there had been an incident at the airport, but said it could not immediately provide details.

Elsewhere in the east, US and Afghan forces battled hundreds of militants from an al-Qaida-linked group for a third day on Tuesday in Kunar province, the US military said. Two US soldiers were killed on Sunday in the first day of the operation.

The attack in Kunar was directed against insurgents believed responsible for the roadside bombing that killed five American service members in the area on June 7, a US statement said. The militants were believed to be members of the Haqqani group, a faction of the Taliban based in Pakistan that has close ties to al-Qaida. About 600 US and Afghan troops are taking part in the operation, the US statement said.

On Tuesday in Kabul, an Afghan man working for the United Nations was shot and killed in his vehicle near a busy traffic circle. The Afghan UN employee who died was driving a white pickup truck with the blue UN logo painted on the side. Another Afghan member of the UN staff, who was in the vehicle, was not wounded, the UN said.

The morning shooting occurred amid heavy traffic near Massoud circle, an intersection near the US Embassy and an American military base. Two windows on the truck were shattered and blood was spattered inside the car.

"The circumstances of the shooting are not yet clear," a statement released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said. "United Nations security teams are working with Afghan security institutions to assist investigations." UN officials extended condolences to the victim, who has not been identified.

"The United Nations condemns violence against any of its personnel under any circumstances," the UN statement said. "Those responsible for this killing should be brought to justice without delay."

Mirajudin, who was at the scene of the shooting moments after it happened, said he and the passenger helped pull the driver out. "I saw that the driver was shot in his eye," said Mirajudin, who still had blood smeared on his arms. "He was bleeding from the eye and from the nose. I helped him, and we put him in an ambulance."