More than 200 Taliban insurgents and four ISAF troops were
killed in a major offensive in the southern Kandahar province of
Afghanistan, ISAF said in a statement on Sunday.
Reports indicate that more than 200 Taliban fighters have been
killed in Panjwai district since about 2,000 troops of the NATO-led
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan forces
launched Operation Medusa early Saturday morning, it said.
This figure was arrived at by reviewing information from ISAF
surveillance and reconnaissance assets operating in Panjwai and
Zhari districts, as well as information reported by various Afghan
officials and citizens living nearby, it added.
Four ISAF soldiers were killed on Sunday and seven others were
wounded, the statement said.
It didn't announce the soldiers' nationality, while Afghan Defense
Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi earlier said three Canadian soldiers
had been killed in the operation.
Meanwhile, more than 80 suspected Taliban fighters were captured
by Afghan police and a further 180 insurgents were seen fleeing the
district, the ISAF statement added.
It also claimed, "There are no reports of civilian casualties,
despite the heavy weight of fire being used."
However, Azimi said "a number of civilians" were killed in
Panjwayi district, though he didn't give the exact number.
Panjwai, about 40 km west of Kandahar city, capital of Kandahar
province, has been a hotbed of Taliban militants, who attack ISAF
and Afghan troops frequently.
A British reconnaissance plane of ISAF crashed near Panjwai on
Saturday, killing all 14 UK soldiers on board.
ISAF has denied a claim by the Taliban that its militants shot
down the plane, saying "a technical problem" caused the
An ISAF spokesman said on Sunday all soldiers' remains had been
retrieved and would be transported to the Kandahar Air Field before
being sent back to Britain, according to reports.
About 10,000 ISAF troops are deployed in southern Afghanistan, a
traditional stronghold of the Taliban, to fight insurgents
Afghanistan is suffering from a rise of Taliban-linked violence
this year, during which more than 2,000 people, mostly Taliban
rebels, have been killed.
Among the fatalities are over 100 foreign troops.
(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2006)