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NATO airstrike kills 15 Taliban in Afghanistan


Kabul : NATO aircraft targeted a group of Taliban militants who were surrounded by Afghan police forces in southern Afghanistan, killing 15 militants, the police said Tuesday.

The aerial bombing took place Monday night after local police forces, acting on intelligence information, surrounded a garden in Sozak village outside Tarin Kot, the capital city of Uruzgan province, provincial police chief Juma Gul Hemat said.

“We had intelligence information that the Taliban had gathered in the garden to plan their terrorist attacks in the province,” Hemat said, adding that once the area was pinpointed, NATO aircraft were called in to bomb the militants.

“Fifteen bodies of the militants, who along with their weapons had been badly torn to pieces, were recovered by the police,” the police chief said.

He said no civilians were killed or hurt in the air raid, which was conducted far from houses.

Hemat added that there were unconfirmed reports that Mullah Janan Agha, a rebel operational commander in the province, was present in the meeting but said he could not confirm whether Agha was also killed in the raid.

Because of the remoteness of the area, it was difficult to verify Hemat’s claims of Taliban casualties independently.

About 4,000 people – mostly insurgents – have been killed in the Afghan conflict so far this year, according to figures provided by Afghan and international military sources.