NATO air raid kills dozens of Taliban

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Herat (Afghanistan), Nov 6: An air strike by NATO-led forces has killed dozens of Taliban insurgents in northwestern Afghanistan, the Afghan army today said.

Since relaunching their insurgency against the Afghan government and foreign troops two years ago, the hardline Islamist Taliban have expanded their operations northwards from the Pashtun-dominated south and east where they are strongest.

Last night's air strike, backed by Afghan and NATO ground forces, targeted Taliban positions in Badghis province, Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said. He said a senior Taliban commander was among those killed.

Azimi and a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) denied reports there had been civilian casualties in the fighting. The Taliban in the area said two militant fighters were killed and 10 wounded in the operation.

Aid organisations say increased Taliban activity in the last few months in and around an ethnic Pashtun enclave in Badghis has disrupted delivery of supplies to the region. The Afghan army launched a large operation in the area last week.

A roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan meanwhile killed one policeman and wounded six more in the province of Nangarhar on Tuesday, a provincial spokesman said.

In the southwest, Taliban insurgents have left the village of Khak-e Sefid in Farah province after looting and burning several buildings there on Sunday, ISAF said in a statement.

It was the third district to fall into Taliban hands in Farah in a week. President Hamid Karzai urged more support from the international community to train and equip Afghan forces and help them stand up against Taliban attacks.


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