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Air strike kills 100 Taliban in Afghanistan

Five senior commanders including Mullah Rahim, the top commander in Helmand, are among the killed.

world Updated: Aug 04, 2007 20:25 IST

About 100 Taliban terrorists including five senior commanders were killed during an air strike in southern Afghanistan, defence ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi told reporters on Saturday.

Coalition troops carried out an air strike in remote Baghran district of Helmand province on Thursday when many Taliban militants gathered to watch the execution of people accused of cooperating with the government, Azimi said.

Five senior Taliban commanders including Mullah Rahim, the top Taliban commander in Helmand, were among the killed.

Azimi said Mansor Dadullah, a top Taliban military commander, was at the site before the bombing. There was no confirmation that he was killed.

Referring to the incident, the US-led coalition forces said "During a sizable meeting of senior Taliban commanders, coalition forces employed precision guided munitions on their location after ensuring there were no innocent Afghans in the surrounding area."

Some media reports quoted locals as saying that up to 300 persons were killed or injured in the air strike and many were civilians.

Azimi refuted this claim, saying a reconnaissance plane had reported only around 150 persons were present before the air strike, and at most 10 civilians were present during the strike.

He also said foreign troops used "small bombs" in the air raid in order to reduce civilian casualties.

More than 3,800 persons have been killed in terror related violence in Afghanistan this year.

First Published: Aug 04, 2007 17:53 IST