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NATO says 20 insurgents killed in Afghanistan

NATO and Afghan forces killed more than 20 insurgents in southern Afghanistan, including Arab, Chechen and Pakistani fighters, NATO said today.

world Updated: Aug 14, 2010 15:46 IST

NATO and Afghan forces killed more than 20 insurgents in southern Afghanistan, including Arab, Chechen and Pakistani fighters, NATO said on Saturday.

The offensive began on Wednesday against militants in Zadran, a mountainous district in Paktiya province.

Separately, a NATO soldier was killed Saturday in an attack by insurgents in the south of the country, the military said without giving further information.

The 20 insurgents were killed in a "clearing operation focused on disrupting the Haqqani Network's freedom of movement in an area used to stage the network's attacks into Kabul and the Khost-Gardez highway", the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

"The Haqqani Network continually seeks to establish strongholds in the Khost-Gardez Pass, disrupting the local government and facilitating the movement of foreign fighters, explosives and weapons into Afghanistan," spokesman US Army Colonel Rafael Torres said.

Also in southern Kandahar province, three civilians were killed and one wounded when insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at their vehicle on Friday.

According to ISAF records, insurgents have killed more than 640 civilians and wounded more than 1,450 since the beginning of 2010.