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More than 36 insurgents killed: US

Afghan and US-led coalition forces have killed more than 36 militants during several days of fighting in the south of the country this week.

world Updated: Aug 16, 2008 12:43 IST

Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces have killed more than 36 militants during several days of fighting in the south of the country this week, the U.S. military said on Saturday.

Violence has risen in Afghanistan this year with about 2,500 people, including 1,000 civilians, killed in fighting between insurgents and foreign and Afghan forces, aid agencies say.

The latest violence erupted on Wednesday when several militants attacked a joint Afghan and coalition patrol with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. military said in a statement.

"ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) and coalition forces returned fire with small arms and close air support. Multiple vehicles and enemy fighting positions were destroyed," it said.

No soldiers from the Afghan and U.S. forces or any civilians had been killed in the fighting, which was continuing on Saturday, a spokesman for the U.S. military said.

The U.S. military gave no more details about the location of the battle.

In another incident, militants attacked U.S.-led coalition forces in Kapisa province to the northeast of the capital, Kabul, on Friday, the U.S. military said.

"Coalition forces responded with air strikes and small-arms fire, killing the militants," it said, without specifying how many insurgents were killed in that incident.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said Taliban fighters had taken control of the Marja district in the southern province of Helmand and the Nawa district in Ghazni province, south of Kabul.

Afghan district officials said their forces were pushing the Taliban back out of the districts.