Thursday, April 2, 2009

'Twenty Taleban die' in clashes - BBC

Some 20 militants have been killed in an operation in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, international coalition forces say.

The insurgents had attacked a patrol of Afghan and coalition forces in Kajaki district on Wednesday and were killed in clashes and an airstrike, they said.

Helmand province is a centre of the Taleban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday US forces head Gen David Petraeus said insurgents would be pursued relentlessly and aggressively.

New troops?
The US-led international coalition said none of its soldiers or Afghan troops were killed in the Helmand engagement.

Kajaki district is about 475km (295 miles) south-west of the capital, Kabul.

US President Barack Obama has recently ordered the deployment of an additional 17,000 US troops in Afghanistan.

There are currently about 38,000 American troops in the country.

On Wednesday, senior US defence official Michele Flournoy said the United States was considering whether to send another 10,000 troops to Afghanistan next year.

She said President Obama would probably make a decision on the extra deployment in the autumn.

Speaking to the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, Gen Petraeus said militants in Afghanistan were growing in strength but would be fought "relentlessly".

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