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Eight US troops die in one of worst Afghan battles

world Updated: Oct 04, 2009 19:11 IST
Taliban militants

US forces suffered one of their bloodiest days in eight years of war in Afghanistan with eight soldiers killed when their remote outposts were overrun by hundreds of Taliban militants, officials said on Sunday.

The dawn raid on Saturday saw militants sweep down a hillside from a mosque and a village in eastern Nuristan province, to attack two posts in the mountainous border region which is a haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

The US forces called in airstrikes to repel the attack, in a fight that lasted into the night, the International Security Assistance Force said, describing it as a "a pretty tough fight".

"Coalition forces effectively repelled the attack and inflicted heavy enemy casualties while eight ISAF and two ANSF (Afghan National Security Force) service members were killed," it said.

Colonel Randy George, commander of Task Force Mountain Warrior in the area, said: "This was a complex attack in a difficult area. Both the US and Afghan soldiers fought bravely together."

A Taliban spokesman claimed that 30 foreign and Afghan troops were killed and that they captured the police chief of Kamdesh district as well as 30 Afghan National Army soldiers.

The head of intelligence in Nuristan, Mohammad Farooq, said: "About 700 Taliban participated in the attack, who came from Swat and Dir (in Pakistan).