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Troops kill 12 militants in Afghanistan

world Updated: Mar 28, 2009 10:48 IST

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Afghan and international troops killed 12 militants in a raid on a bomb-making network in southern Afghanistan, the US military said on Saturday.

The raid was in Helmand, a dangerous, opium-producing province where Taliban militants hold territory and foreign troops led by British forces have faced years of intense fighting.

"Afghan and coalition forces killed 12 militants on Friday night during a raid of a militant location to further degrade bomb-making and facilitation networks in northern Helmand province," the US military said in a statement.

It was the latest in a series of recent military strikes on groups behind bombings, the weapon of choice of the Taliban and cause of most of the casualties from militant attacks.

A Taliban-led insurgency has grown steadily in Afghanistan since the hardliners were forced out of government in 2001 and US President Barack Obama on Friday announced a revised US strategy to deal with the climbing violence.

This includes a greater focus on militant sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan, increased efforts to build the Afghan security forces and ramping up civilian reconstruction efforts.

Obama has also announced that he will send an extra 21,000 troops to Afghanistan, on top of the 38,000 already in Afghanistan with more than 30,000 soldiers also deployed from other nations.