13 Taliban insurgents killed in Afghanistan: US military


Kabul : The US military claimed Friday that their forces killed 13 suspected insurgents in two firefights in southern Afghanistan.

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The US and Afghan forces attacked an insurgent hideout in Lashkargah, the capital city of southern Helmand province Thursday night after receiving information regarding the militants’ presence in the area, the US military said in statement.

When the joint forces reached the compound where the insurgents had forced villagers to shelter them, the militants, who were barricaded inside the compound, engaged the forces with small arms fire, it said.

The forces fought back and killed 11 militants and detained others without harming some 18 civilians inside the compound, mostly women and children, it said, adding that the targeted militants were involved in roadside-bomb attacks in the province.

The statement did not say if there were any casualties among the coalition troops or Afghan forces.

Two other suspected militants were killed by an US airstrike when they were trying to plant a roadside bomb in the Deh Rawood district of the southern province of Uruzgan Thursday, a separate US military statement said.

The fighting came as US media reported that US President Barack Obama planned to increase troop levels in Afghanistan by an additional 4,000 soldiers in a move to expand the fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.

The increase would come on top of 17,000 additional troops that Obama committed to send to Afghanistan by mid-2009. More than 70,000 international soldiers, more than half of them American troops, are stationed in Afghanistan. The forces are deployed from 42 nations following the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001.

The additional deployments would push total US troop strength in Afghanistan to nearly 60,000.