Afghan clash leaves 100 Taliban dead

KABUL, Afghanistan, AP

U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces killed more than 100 suspected Taliban insurgents, and a suicide bomber blew himself next to an army patrol, killing two Afghan soldiers and four civilians, officials said.

The insurgents were killed Tuesday in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan after the joint force was ambushed by a large group of militants who tried to overrun their position, a statement from the coalition said.

The force called in airstrikes, which killed more than 100 suspected insurgents, the coalition said late Tuesday. The casualty figures could not be independently verified because of the remoteness of the area.

“Coalition aircraft destroyed the reinforced enemy emplacements and sniper positions, as well as two trucks used to reinforce and resupply the insurgent force,” the statement said. The clash left one Afghan soldier dead and three wounded. Three coalition soldiers were also wounded, it said. The nationality of the coalition soldiers was not disclosed, but the vast majority of foreign troops in the area are American.

Violence is soaring in Afghanistan. This year more than 3,900 people — most of them militants — have died, according to an Associated Press tally of casualty figures provided by Western and Afghan officials.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to an Afghan army patrol in a market in Paktika province, killing two soldiers and four shoppers, said Ghamai Khan, a spokesman for the local governor. Ten other people were wounded.

On Tuesday, U.S.-led and Afghan troops raided a house near Kandahar city, killing two suspected militants and detaining five others, a coalition statement said. Those targeted in the raid were accused of facilitating bomb attacks against coalition and Afghan forces in Kandahar.