NATO-led troops backed by artillery and airstrikes battled insurgents in southern Afghanistan, killing 48 suspected militants in three separate confrontations, the alliance said Wednesday, as Afghan police and Western troops elsewhere seized more than 10 tons of marijuana from a truck.
At least four civilians also were wounded in the clashes in Kandahar's Zhari and Panjwayi districts on Tuesday, the alliance said, adding that they were receiving treatment at military medical facilities.
The clashes had targeted militants who were attacking NATO's development efforts in the area, said Maj. Luke Knittig, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
NATO-led troops used mortar, artillery and air support in the rolling clashes with large groups of insurgents, a NATO statement said.
The troops "positively identified insurgents, killing an estimated 48," NATO said. "We deeply regret any civilian casualties caused."