Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dozens Of Taliban Killed In Airstrikes

U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces clashed with militants in southern Afghanistan and called in airstrikes that killed dozens of insurgents, a spokesman said. The NATO-led force, meanwhile, said the number of attacks by militants on remote government facilities have dropped by half this year compared with 2006. Insurgents attacked the joint force with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenades in the Deh Rawood district of Uruzgan province on Tuesday, before fleeing into a civilian home, the coalition said. Dozens of militants were killed during the operation, said Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman. There were no reports of casualties among coalition and Afghan forces.More than 5,800 people, mostly militants, have died in insurgency-related violence this year, a record number, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials. The number of militant attacks on remote Afghan government district centers have decreased by half in 2007, said Brig. Gen. Carlos Branco, the spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force. Branco did not provide figures to back up his claim. A number of regional government centers have been overrun by militants in recent weeks, especially in the country's west and center. Militants usually flee the centers as Afghan and foreign troops approach. The militants use these attacks to make it look as though they control the area, Branco said.