85 Taliban rebels killed in southern Afghanistan

Afghan and coalition troops, pushing ahead with their largest offensive since the ousting of the Taliban five years ago, have killed about 85 suspected insurgents in targeted attacks over the past few days in southern Afghanistan, military officials reported on Saturday night. About 10,000 US-led troops have spread out over four southern provinces as part of Operation Mountain Thrust, a counter-insurgency blitz aimed at quelling a Taliban resurgence. An estimated 40 fighters were killed Friday when coalition forces surprised militants as they gathered at a "known enemy camp" in Khod Valley, part of Shahidi Hassas district of Uruzgan province. Among those killed were financiers, members of a bomb-making cell, and area leaders responsible for attacks against Afghan civilians and the army.