Afghan and foreign troops kill 14 Taliban

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KABUL, Sep 18 (Reuters) Afghan and US-led coalition forces killed 14 Taliban insurgents in two separate clashes in the southern province of Helmand and a British soldier was killed in another clash in the same province, officials said today.

Nine Taliban insurgents were killed in an air-strike in the Kajaki district of Helmand yesterday when Taliban tried to ambush Afghan soldiers, a Defence Ministry statement said.

''Based on intelligence about a Taliban ambush, we called in air power which killed nine violent extremist Taliban,'' it said.

Meanwhile, Afghan and U.S.-led coalition soldiers killed five Taliban insurgents in the Garmser district of the same province yesterday when Taliban fighters attacked Afghan and coalition troops, the statement said.

The US-led coalition says hundreds of Taliban fighters have been killed in fighting in the last month. But Western forces have also suffered a steady stream of casualties undermining public support for their presence in Afghanistan at home.

An explosion hit a British army convoy in the Gereshk district of Helmand yesterday killing one soldier, the British Ministry of Defence said.

Elsewhere, a convoy of Swedish troops came under attack on Tuesday close to the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, but there were no casualties, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, adding it was too early to clearly identify the nature of the attack.

More than 7,000 people have been killed in the past 19 months in Afghanistan, the bloodiest period since U.S-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in 2001.


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