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Afghan, NATO Operation Kills 14 in Southern Afghanistan

By VOA News
08 December 2007

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says NATO and Afghan troops have killed 12 suspected militants and two children in an operation to reclaim the southern Taliban-held town of Musa Qala.

A ministry spokesman, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, Saturday said ground troops surrounded the town in Helmand province Friday. He said up to 300 civilians fled the area in advance of the assault.

The spokesman said two children were killed in the operation when their vehicle was caught in a firefight. He said a Taliban patrol was using the vehicle as a shield.

Elsewhere, police said Taliban militants in the Sangin district of Helmand hanged a 12-year-old boy. Police said the militants accused him of working as a spy.

In other violence, NATO said one of its soldiers was killed and another wounded in an explosion today in southern Afghanistan. It did not provide further details.

The U.S.-led military said it killed several Taliban militants, including a senior commander, in an airstrike in Musa Qala Friday. The commander is believed to have been involved in several attacks against U.S. and NATO forces in the region.

Taliban militants overran Musa Qala in February, after British troops withdrew and handed over security responsibilities to local elders.

Separately, NATO foreign ministers are discussing the appointment of an international "super" envoy to Afghanistan. The envoy would help better coordinate U.N. and NATO civilian and military efforts within the country.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.



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