Firefight in Afghanistan leaves militants dead

A two-hour gun battle left several Taliban and al-Qaida militants dead in southern Afghanistan early Saturday, officials said. Troops from the US-led coalition and Afghan forces were approaching two separate compounds in Zabul province where the militants were thought to live when they came under attack with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from a nearby hill, a coalition statement said. "Their entire fighting force on that hill was wiped out," Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman, said of the attackers. Five militants were detained and a cache of weapons was destroyed. The coalition did not say how many militants were killed.