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NATO says 10 insurgents killed in Afghanistan

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan said on Monday its troops killed a senior insurgent and nine associates in an operation in the southern province of Helmand.

world Updated: Mar 23, 2009 12:36 IST

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan said on Monday its troops killed a senior insurgent and nine associates in an operation in the southern province of Helmand.

The men were killed on Saturday in the Kajaki area, the International Security Assistance Force said. Most ISAF troops in the region are British.

"Maulawi Hassan was killed, along with nine of his associates, during an operation that targeted his compound," said a statement from the organisation.

ISAF said Hassan was heavily involved in illegal activities such as suicide attacks and bombings.

He reported to a senior Taliban commander, Mullah Rahmatullah, who directed insurgent activity from outside Afghanistan, it said, in a likely reference to Pakistan, where Taliban and other Islamic extremists have bases.

Weapons and bomb components were discovered during the operation, it said.

The details could not be verified immediately with Afghan authorities.

Helmand is a flashpoint in the brutal insurgency that has grown in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion ousted the Taliban from government in late 2001.

Several of its districts are out of government control -- most of them hubs for illegal opium production, which officials say bankrolls the insurgents.