Four militants killed in US air strike in Kabul
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Four militants killed in US air strike in Kabul

The US-led coalition suspects other insurgents may be buried under the rubble after Monday's strike in eastern Paktika province.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 17:47 IST

Coalition forces killed four "enemy extremists" in eastern Afghanistan in an air strike on men loading rockets into a truck from a cave near the border with Pakistan, it said.

The US-led coalition suspects other insurgents may be buried under the rubble after Monday's strike in eastern Paktika province, the coalition said in statement late on Monday, stressing Pakistan forces had been informed of the operation.

Pakistan's military said authorities were questioning three injured men who came from across the border after the incident, while a local official said eight men were missing.

"Prior to the strike, a joint combat team of Afghan National Army and US ground forces observed individuals loading a truck near the cave and determined that the personnel were moving rockets from a cave complex," the coalition said.

"Only three rounds of ordnance from the close air support were fired and all accurately struck the cave and only the cave," the statement said.

A patrol sent in afterwards was fired on. It returned fire and arrested a man. The troops discovered two destroyed trucks under the rubble containing two 107mm rockets.

The statement stressed that the cave complex was "clearly inside the international boundary of Afghanistan and confirmed by global positioning system."

"Coalition forces were in direct communication with Pakistani forces across the border throughout this operation," it said.

The coalition is based in southern and eastern Afghanistan to hunt down insurgents from the former Taliban government, removed from power by a US-led coalition, and other extremist Islamic outfits.

The Afghan-Pakistan border is porous and ill-defined and military operations in the area sometimes cross the boundary.

Pakistani military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said there had been no violation of his country's airspace.

"Three injured men came to our post from across the border, they were taken into custody and given medical treatment," Sultan said.

Late on Monday officials in Pakistan's South Waziristan area, near Afghanistan's Paktika, said that three labourers working on a hillside were injured when jets from the coalition in Afghanistan jets fired at them.

"US-led military planes fired at people who were extracting chromite stones at Khawaja Khizer hill, near the town of Angoor Ada Monday afternoon," a security official said.

The men who were brought to hospital told authorities that there were eight others working with them at the hill, but they were still missing, the official said on condition of anonymity.

First Published: May 09, 2006 12:44 IST