NATO forces attack Taliban insurgents
Helicopter gunships and troops with small and heavy arms blasted a valley in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday as local and NATO forces launched a huge offensive against hundreds of Taliban insurgents, many of whom broke out of jail last week.
The Afghan defence ministry said 20 Taliban guerrillas were killed in a NATO air strike and two Afghan army officers also died in the operation, in Arghandab district. The ministry said three Taliban group leaders were killed further south.
Some 600 Taliban fighters on Monday took over villages in Arghandab, on the northern outskirts of Kandahar city, days after freeing hundreds of inmates in an attack on the city’s main jail, according to the Taliban and an Afghan official. Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf said militants had set their sights on Kandahar itself, the movement’s birthplace, which lies about 20km from Arghandab.
After massing troops, Afghan army and NATO-led forces have now started an offensive to flush out the Taliban from the villages, while stepping up security in Kandahar city. NATO said it expects the operation to last for the next three days.
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