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Archive for Saturday, July 7, 2007

100 insurgents killed in fierce fighting

July 7, 2007

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— Fierce fighting broke out around Afghanistan on Friday, with battles in three separate regions killing more than 100 militants, part of a cycle of rapidly rising violence five years into the U.S.-led effort to defeat the Taliban.

The governor of northeastern Kunar province said villagers were claiming that airstrikes had killed dozens of civilians, though he said he could not confirm the report.

U.S.-led coalition and NATO spokesmen on Friday emphasized that ground commanders had evaluated the terrain to prevent civilian casualties, though Kunar Gov. Shalizai Dedar said villagers had reported that 10 civilians were killed in an initial airstrike, and that a second strike killed about 30 people who were trying to bury the dead.

Dedar said he could not confirm the reports of civilian deaths but that he was not rejecting their validity either. He said about 60 militants died in the battle.

U.S. and NATO officials say Taliban militants threaten villagers into claiming that attacks killed civilians.

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