KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO said yesterday that it captured several insurgent leaders in recent days and detained at least 438 suspected militants over the last month, as three coalition soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan.
Afghan and coalition forces also killed at least 15 insurgents in a firefight in eastern Kunar Province who were trying to set up an attack position, the coalition said. It said initial reports indicated there were no injuries to civilians.
NATO said Afghan and international forces captured a senior Taliban leader based in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province Thursday. A military operation called “Dragon Strike’’ is underway in Kandahar, the heartland of the Taliban insurgency, to clear the area of militants. The captured Taliban leader helped militants obtain weapons and bomb components and provided training and bed-down locations for the Taliban leadership, NATO said.
NATO also said that Afghan and coalition security forces captured a Haqqani Network operative involved in explosive attacks and providing support to Taliban insurgents. He was captured in Khost, in the east near Pakistan, on Thursday.
The Haqqani Network is based in Pakistan and is believed to have links to Al Qaeda.
Also in Khost, another Haqqani senior leader and six insurgents were killed in an operation Thursday, NATO said. It said the leader was directly involved in the planning and coordination of attacks against forward operating bases Salerno and Chapman in August in which more than 30 Haqqani Network insurgents were killed.
Just north of Kandahar, two Romanian soldiers were killed and one was injured yesterday when their Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb, according to Romania’s defense ministry.