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Nine militants killed in Afghanistan: US military

US-led military forces said today that an air strike and ground operation targeting the Taliban killed nine militants in south and central Afghanistan.

world Updated: May 21, 2009 21:02 IST

US-led military forces said today that an air strike and ground operation targeting the Taliban killed nine militants in south and central Afghanistan.

Two Taliban were killed and six suspects arrested when troops raided compounds in the Nad Ali district, about 30 kilometers southwest of Lashkar Gah, the capital of volatile southern Helmand province, it said.

Separately, the US-led coalition said seven militants were killed in an air strike that followed a gunbattle yesterday in the central Ghazni province.

"Combined forces encountered multiple enemy fighters during a planned operation," a statement said.

"Afghan and coalition forces began receiving small arms fire from an enemy element maneouvering a few hundred feet from the compound," it said.

"Forces returned fire and called in coalition air support," it added.

"Seven armed militants were dead and the engagement was over," it said. Forces also detained a local Taliban commander, the military said.

The 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan ousted the extremist Taliban movement from government in Kabul but its adherents have regrouped to launch an increasingly bloody insurgency.