150 rebels killed in Afghanistan in two weeks
One of the most recent casualties was on Friday in Uruzgan province where 22 rebels were killed.india Updated: Jun 24, 2006 15:29 IST
A major anti-Taliban operation by Afghan and coalition forces has killed 149 insurgents in the past two weeks, with three Afghan soldiers also losing their lives, the defence ministry said on Saturday.
Another 32 insurgents have been wounded and 61 arrested as part of Operation Mountain Thrust in the past fortnight, ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said.
"Three soldiers have been martyred and 14 are wounded," he told reporters.
He described the dead as "enemies of peace and safety of our people," a term often used by Afghan officials that can include Taliban insurgents and other rebels.
"The operation is designed to track enemies of peace, neutralise their terrorist activities and provide security for a safe atmosphere for reconstruction in the southern and southwestern parts of the country," he said.
More than 3,000 Afghan soldiers were part of the operation under the US-led forces umbrella, Azimi said.
It was the first time the fledgling army had taken part in an operation in such big numbers.
The drive had also collected 74 light weapons and 14 heavy machine guns in the past two weeks.
One of the most recent casualties was on Friday in Uruzgan province where 22 rebels were killed, he said. The coalition said it estimated that 40 were killed there.
In Kandahar province on the same day, another 25 "enemies" were killed, he said. Mountain Thrust is the biggest operation in southern Afghanistan since the Taliban were removed from government in late 2001 by a coalition led by the United States.
The operation, involving thousands of troops, was put in place mid-May and had moved into a more active phase about two weeks ago, a coalition spokeswoman said.