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US led coalition kills 11 militants

world Updated: Dec 31, 2008 12:38 IST

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US led coalition forces killed 11 militants during an operation just outside the Afghan capital, the coalition said on Wednesday.

The operation took place yesterday about 60 kilometers northeast of Kabul in Surobi district, it said.

The coalition said its forces targeted a commander wanted for trafficking weapons and fighters throughout the region. They killed two militants with gunfire and nine others with air strikes during the operation, it said.

The coalition does not identify the units involved in its operations. French soldiers are known to operate in the Surobi region, as are US Special Forces on occasion.

Afghanistan's security situation has been deteriorating. The number of roadside bombs and kidnappings doubled in 2008 from the previous year, the US ambassador said yesterday.

The number of roadside bombs rose from roughly 1,000 in 2007 to 2,000 in 2008, while the number of kidnappings jumped from about 150 to 300, Ambassador William Wood said.

Compiling accurate data for roadside bombs and kidnappings is difficult, he said, and the numbers were approximate.

Speaking at an end of the year news conference, Wood called 2008 a "good year but also a hard year."

Afghanistan, he said, saw progress against opium poppies, the main ingredient in heroin, as land for cultivating them dropped by almost 20 per cent in 2008.

International donors also pledged some USD 20 billion in aid at a conference in Paris, he noted.

But violence also rose and the Taliban insurgency spread throughout southern Afghanistan. Because of that, the US next year plans to send up to 30,000 new forces to the country to reinforce the 32,000 American soldiers already there.