Sunday, June 25, 2006

149 Militants Killed In Major Anti-Taliban Operation In Southern Afghanistan

Nearly 150 suspected Taliban fighters were killed and more than 60 others arrested since the launching of a major anti-Taliban operation in south Afghanistan, Defense Ministry spokesman said. "Operation Mountain Thrust has entered its second week and so far 149 enemies of peace have been killed, 32 others got wounded and 61 more were captured," Zahir Azimi told journalists at a press conference. Asked about the government troops'casualties, he said that only three soldiers lost their lives and 14 others sustained injuries over the past two weeks.Involving 11,000 coalition and Afghan soldiers, the ever- biggest offensive since the collapse of Taliban in late 2001, according to the spokesman, would continue to completely root out militants in the region. 47 militants had been killed over the past two days in the operation covering the southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan, the hotbed of Taliban insurgents. A large number of arms and ammunition including 47 assault rifles were also seized from the militants. Taliban militants are yet to make any comment on the claim. Taliban-linked insurgency has claimed the lives of more than 900 people including more than 40 foreign soldiers, among whom there were over 30 Americans, in the past six months.