Coalition troops attack Taliban faction in east
KABUL, Afghanistan — More than 20 insurgents — including Arab, Chechen, and Pakistani fighters — have been killed by NATO and Afghan forces who are stepping up operations in the east against a Taliban faction linked to Al Qaeda, the international coalition said yesterday.
Separately, three more NATO troops — an American, a Briton, and an Australian — died in insurgent attacks in the volatile south, officials of the three countries said yesterday.
The joint force operation began Wednesday against dozens of insurgents holed up in a mountainous area of the Zadran district of Paktia Province. The operation focused on disrupting the Haqqani network’s movement in an area used to stage attacks in the capital, Kabul, and along a highway that links Khost Province and Gardez, the provincial capital of Paktia, NATO said.
More than 20 insurgents have been killed, the coalition said. Combined security forces also discovered and destroyed several explosive devices and bomb-making equipment, including trip wire and blasting caps, weapons and ammunition. A coalition airstrike destroyed an enemy ammunitions bunker, NATO said.
Three small children were killed, and their mother was wounded when a civilian house was hit by an insurgent rocket in Khost city late Friday, provincial spokesman Mubarez Zadran said. He said the insurgents appeared to have been aiming at a coalition base but missed.
The United States considers the Haqqani group, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin, as one of the most dangerous Taliban networks, because of its links to Al Qaeda. Two other operations in June resulted in the deaths of more than 50 Haqqani fighters. Afghan and coalition forces killed 17 fighters — including a commander, Fazil Subhan — during a fierce firefight in Khost Province June 9, NATO said. A week later, in the Jani Khel district of Paktia Province, Afghan and coalition forces killed at least 35 insurgents.
Elsewhere, NATO announced that Afghan troops and a US Marine special operations team had moved last week into an area of northern Badghis Province that had been under insurgent control for two years.
NATO officials had no further details about the death of the American service member yesterday.