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Over 100 Taliban militants killed in Afghanistan
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Battle between Taliban-led militants and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in Afghanistan's troubled Helmand province have claimed the lives of more than 100 insurgents over the past three days with 64 of them on Sunday, spokesman of provincial administration contended.

"Taliban militants launched a three-pronged attack on Helmand's provincial capital Lashkar Gha at the wee hours of Sunday and the troops with the support of NATO air power pounded their positions, leaving 64 dead," Daud Ahmadi told Xinhua.

An Afghan policeman stands next to a destroyed vehicle after a fire fight overnight between the Taliban militants and Afghan and NATO-led forces, on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah October 12, 2008. Afghan and NATO-led forces killed 65 Taliban militants preparing to attack the provincial capital of the southern province of Helmand, the provincial governor's spokesman Daud Ahmadi said on Sunday. [Agencies]

The fierce attack, he said, took place at 1:00 am and in retaliation, ANSF with the support of NATO's helicopter gun ships targeted the rebels killing, 64 of them on the spot.

Ahamdi also stressed that 40 more rebels had been killed in an operation continuing in Nadali district over the past three days.

The spokesman emphasized that there were no casualties on the Afghan troops.

Meanwhile, ISAF said in a statement released on Sunday that ISAF took action to interdict a combined attack planned by enemy forces against an ANSF compound in Lashkar Gah district.

"Insurgents were seen gathering on the outskirts of the town, prior to launching a mortar attack while ANSF and ISAF forces worked together to counter this aggression," the statement said.

"During this counterattack, ISAF forces successfully conducted an air strike in which multiple enemy forces were killed," it said.

Brigadier General Richard Blanchette, an ISAF spokesman, said, "If the insurgents planned a spectacular attack prior to the winter, this was a spectacular failure."

Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, the purported Taliban spokesman, talked to Xinhua via phone from an unknown hideout claiming that the outfits have surrounded and launched attack on the provincial capital of Helmand killing at least 25 ANSF soldiers since late Saturday night.

Moreover, Ahmadi denied Taliban have suffered great fatalities that over 100 militants were killed.

Taliban insurgents recently vowed to intensify their assaults against interests of Afghan government and international troops before the coming winter.

Spiraling conflicts and Taliban-linked insurgency have left more than 4,500 people mostly insurgents so far this year in Afghanistan.

(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2008)

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