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15 militants killed in separate operations

21 January, 2013

KABUL: Up to 15 Taliban militants have been killed in separate operations in different Afghan provinces, authorities said Sunday.

"Afghan and coalition forces killed six insurgents, detained one, and located two weapons caches during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours," the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

Afghan Border Police killed six insurgents during an engagement in Achin District in Nangarhar province 120 km east of Kabul, the ISAF's statement said.

The weapons caches were found in eastern Khost and neighboring Paktia province, the ISAF forces said in the statement.

In addition, Afghan army and police launched a cleanup operation on Saturday in the country's Helmand province, 555 km south of Kabul, to clear the militants in areas in Nad Ali and Marjah Districts, killing nine armed Taliban militants, a spokesman for provincial government, Ahmad Zirak, told Xinhua on Sunday.

He said the Afghan army troops also detained a Taliban fighter, who shot dead a teenage girl in Nad Ali District, during the operation.

The Taliban has been waging an insurgency since its regime was toppled by a U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.

Officials, Taliban claim casualties to each other (AIP): The officials and Taliban on Sunday raised conflicting claims about casualties to each other in various parts of the country.

Nine Taliban fighters were killed and weapons were seized during operation of Afghan security forces in Nadali and Marjah districts of Helmand province, the provincial governor's spokesman Ahmad Zeerak told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP). The security force did not suffer casualties, he added.

In a separate incident, he said the Taliban opened fire at an ISAF base in Shna village of Nadali district yesterday when the responsibilities of the facility were being handed over to Afghan forces.

The security forces did not suffer casualties but a girl outside the base was injured, he said. The girl succumbed to her injuries at an ISAF hospital, he added.

Meanwhile, an interior ministry press release stated combined forces conducted operations in Nangarhar, Ghazni, Khost and Helmand provinces over the past 24 hours, killing 10 Taliban and arresting 10 more. An ISAF statement said some Taliban commanders and suspects were arrested in Paktiya, Helmand and Logar provinces.

The Taliban, however, rejected the statements of Afghan officials and ISAF as false and said their fighters had not suffer any casualties in these areas.

"The enemy always kill civilians and arrest them and term them mujahideen," a Taliban press release available with the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) stated.

The Taliban claimed causing heavy casualties to Afghan and foreign forces in blasts and attacks in Kunar, Laghman, Kapisa, Nangarhar, Zabul, Kandahar, Nimroz, Herat, Badghis, Farah, Uruzga, Logar, Khost and Wardak provinces.

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