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US, Pakistan air raids kill 11 pro-Taliban fighters

US and Pakistan aircraft pummeled pro-Taliban forces either side of the Afghan-Pakistan border.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2006 05:04 IST

US and Pakistan aircraft pummelled pro-Taliban forces either side of the Afghan-Pakistan border, while Afghan police battled 50-armed militants in the south, in clashes that killed at least 11 insurgents, officials said on Tuesday.

At least five Afghan soldiers were also killed, including four in a roadside bombing on Tuesday during a joint operation with US forces in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.

More than four years since the Taliban's toppling, insurgent-related violence is rising across this volatile region and coalition military forces expect militant attacks -- led by bombings and shootings -- to increase during the spring and summer months. Spain's Defence Minister said more Spanish troops were needed to protect the 540 already in Kabul.

US warplanes fired two Hellfire missiles and dropped one bomb on a suspected Taliban camp in the Lashkar Gah district of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, which borders Pakistan, killing three militants late on Monday before another fled.

Separately, about 50 Taliban militants raided a police checkpoint in the nearby mountainous Miana Shien district, about 80 kilometres north of Kandahar city, local official Shabi Khan said.

The gunfight continued into this morning, leaving five Taliban and one policeman dead, Khan said. Six Afghan police and seven Taliban fighters were also wounded, the coalition military said, before the remaining militants fled on foot into the mountains.

First Published: Apr 26, 2006 05:04 IST