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Afghan troops kill 50 Taliban militants in S. Afghanistan
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Afghan forces backed by NATO forces have killed some 50 Taliban insurgents and injured almost the same number in Taliban's birthplace Kandahar in southern Afghanistan over the past three days, provincial police chief said Wednesday.


"In a joint operation launched against militants in Arghandab district on Monday, so far some 50 enemies have been killed and 50 others sustained injuries," Sayed Aqa Saqib, police chief of Kandahar, told Xinhua via telephone.


Another 12 insurgents have been captured and two of them were wounded, he said.


Afghan troops in the bloody clash, which still is going on, also discovered a weapon cache, according to the police chief.


Several families in the area had left their homes for safer places, he added.


Saqib also said that more than 200 insurgents had been hidden in residential areas among the local communities and the troops have been tightening nose around to kill or capture them without damaging the civilians.


Meantime, Taliban's purported spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi rejected the claim saying no casualties have been inflicted to militants.


Taliban militants have intensified their pressure on Afghan government over the past weeks as they launched simultaneous attacks on Arghandab in the southern Kandahar province and Gilistan district in the western Farah province to consolidate their positions before the onset of the harsh winter.


Ahmadi also claimed their fighters captured Gilistan district on Tuesday but police spokesman in Farah province Mohammad Gul rejected the claim saying government forces would soon evict the rebels from the area.


Heavy fighting between government troops and Taliban insurgents has been continuing over the control of Gilistan district for the past two days and so far 30 militants have been killed, Gul told Xinhua earlier on Wednesday.


This year Afghanistan witnessed the deadliest period since 2001 as militancy-related violence and conflicts have claimed the lives of over 5,300 people, mostly insurgents, since January 2007.


The Taliban, after being toppled by the US invasion in late 2001 following the September 11 attacks on the United States, has waged a years-long insurgency against the Afghan administration and international troops.


(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2007)

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