40 Taliban rebels, British soldier killed in Afghanistan


Kabul : At least 40 Taliban fighters were killed in a US airstrike in east-central Afghan provice of Ghazni while a British soldier died in a clash with the extremists in the south, officials said Friday.

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US planes bombed a group of Taliban who were meeting near the district centre of Ajristan late Thursday, a spokesman for Ghazni Governor Ismail Jahangir said.

The Ajristan district was captured by the Taliban earlier this week. The militants were forced out of the district, leaving more than a dozen fatalities, as hundreds of Afghan troops moved in Wednesday.

The Taliban have stepped up their activities in recent months mainly in the southern provinces.

In the southern province of Helmand, a soldier serving in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was killed and two were wounded during fighting with the Taliban, an ISAF statement said.

The British Defence Ministry identified the casualties as British. The serviceman who was killed late Thursday was part of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and died in the Sangin area while on patrol with two colleagues and an explosives sniffer dog, the ministry said.

A majority of the up to 7,000 troops based in Helmand are British.

Meanwhile, a US-led coalition force member died Friday in Afghanistan of what the coalition said was non-combat-related causes, without giving details.

A brief press release from the coalition’s military base in Bagram said the name and nationality of the deceased were being withheld pending the notification of family.