NATO: Afghan battle kills as many as 150 Taliban

NATO on Thursday said up to 150 insurgents were killed in an eastern Afghanistan battle after two large groups of fighters crossed the border from Pakistan. The fighters were attacked with ground fire and airstrikes, NATO said. Gen. Murad Ali, the Afghan army regional deputy corps commander, said the insurgents had traveled into Paktika province with several trucks carrying ammunition. A NATO statement said "initial battle damage estimates" indicated that as many as 150 fighters were killed. Ali said more than 50 fighters were killed late Wednesday and early Thursday. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, estimated the toll at 80. It was not clear why there was such a disparity in the estimates. Independent confirmation of the death toll was not immediately possible at the remote battle site.