Wire: Afghan, US Troops Kill 40 Militants in East
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that Afghan and American forces killed 40 militants in 24 hours as they hunted in mountainous eastern Afghanistan for insurgents, the defense ministry said Tuesday.
The Associated Press said ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said 10 Afghan army troops were also killed in the same period around the country, most of them in Nuristan province's Kamdesh district, where eight Americans and two Afghan security troopers died Saturday after hundreds of Taliban militants overwhelmed their remote and thinly manned outposts.
Azimi said joint operations were ongoing Tuesday in Kamdesh, and seven insurgents had been arrested there, AP noted.
Capt. Elizabeth Mathias, an American media officer for NATO forces, however, said there had "not been any significant engagement" in Kamdesh since Saturday. She said U.S. and Afghan forces were still in the remote area and had not pulled out.See link below for additional details.
NATO said in a statement that 100 attackers were killed in Saturday's fighting. The alliance had previously only said that coalition forces inflicted "heavy casualties."
The fierce gunbattle was the heaviest U.S. loss of life in a single battle since July 2008, when nine American soldiers were killed in a raid on an outpost in the same province.
Kamdesh, located about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Pakistani border and about 150 miles (230 kilometers) from Kabul, has no regular cell phone or landline contact and few roads.
Al-Qaida fighters are active in the region, as are those of wanted militant leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose military chief Kashmir Khan has been unsuccessfully targeted by U.S. missiles over the past eight years.
NATO said the attack was carried out "by local anti-Afghan forces, while local Taliban" and militants loyal to Hekmatyar "may have helped facilitate" it. The Taliban have claimed responsibility.
(Report from newswire sources.)
Source: Afghan, US troops kill 40 militants in east