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Dozens killed in clashes, attacks in Afghanistan

world Updated: Jun 30, 2009 19:45 IST
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More than two dozen Taliban and three police officers were killed in a clash in northern Afghanistan and a suicide bombing and US-led coalition airstrikes in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

Officials in the Baghlan province said a clash that lasted several hours late Monday in the Baghlan-e-Markazi district inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban.

The police started an operation to clear the Kokchinar area of militants and a clash between the two sides started as soon as the police entered the area, provincial police chief Abdul Rahman Saeedkhili said.

He said 15 Taliban and two police officers were killed in the fighting and the area was cleared of the militants.

However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militant group killed three police in the fighting and the militants suffered no casualties.

Afghanistan's relatively stable north has been the scene of increasing Taliban attacks in recent weeks as the country moves closer to the second presidential election in its history.

Elsewhere, a suicide bomber wearing woman's clothing detonated himself at a border checkpoint at a crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing one police officer and a child and wounding several other people.

The chief of the border police in the Eastern Zone, Zaman Mamozai, said the bomber detonated the explosives attached to his body as the border police were trying to frisk him while crossing the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan in Torkham.

Four police and five civilians were also wounded in the bombing, he said.

Meanwhile, the US military said in a statement Tuesday that more than a dozen Taliban from the Haqqani group were killed overnight in the western parts of the south-eastern province of Khost bordering Pakistan.

Coalition forces planned and coordinated the airstrikes when intelligence sources indicated militant activity in the rugged location earlier in the day, the statement said.

"Coalition force aircraft were called in and destroyed a pair of command bunkers, killing more than a dozen militants," the statement added.

Afghanistan's summer, which has just begun, has usually been the season in which the fiercest fighting takes place between the Taliban and foreign and Afghan forces since 2006.