Over 40 Taliban killed in Afghan clashes

US-led troops attack compound where terror leaders meeting; separate clashes reported in South.

US afghanistan 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
US afghanistan 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
US-led troops attacked a compound where Taliban leaders were meeting in western Afghanistan, killing 30 militants, American and Afghan officials said Friday. Another 11 militants reportedly died in a separate clash in the south. The coalition was striking back against insurgents opposed to the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai who have stepped up attacks on foreign and Afghan troops. In the bloodiest incident, the coalition said its troops called in airstrikes on the compound in the Shindand district of Herat province on Thursday. Some 30 militants were killed and five others were detained, spokesman 1st Lt. Nathan Perry said. The troops found a haul of weapons and ammunition inside the compound, he said. An Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, Gen. Mohammad Zaher Azimi, confirmed the clash but said five of the 30 dead were civilians. It was not immediately possible to explain the discrepancy. The operation was launched after an intelligence report that a Taliban commander, Mullah Siddiq, was inside the compound presiding over a meeting of militants, Azimi said. Siddiq was one of those killed during the raid, Azimi said. Separately, Afghan and international troops clashed Thursday with militants in Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province, killing 11 militants, said provincial police Chief Juma Gul Himat. Three Afghan troops were wounded in the fight, Himat said. Authorities recovered the bodies of the dead militants, he said. While most of Afghanistan's violence affects the southern and eastern regions that border Pakistan, militants have also been active in western areas bordering Iran. In another clash Thursday involving airstrikes, the US-led coalition said its forces killed "multiple militants" in the northern Kapisa province. The operation in Tagab district targeted a Taliban commander involved in weapons smuggling and suicide attacks against Afghan and foreign troops, the coalition said. Tagab is close to where militants killed 10 French troops on Tuesday in the deadliest ground attack on foreign troops since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001. More than 3,400 people - mostly militants - have been killed in insurgency-related violence this year, according to figures from Western and Afghan officials.