Code 40336
PublishDate: Monday, December 13, 201009:19

60, including 6 NATO soldiers, killed in Afghanistan since Friday

Increasing militancy and conflicts have claimed the lives of over 60 people including six NATO soldiers since Friday in the militancy-plagued Afghanistan.

In the latest waves of violent offensive against NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the Taliban militants killed six soldiers in the restive southern region on Sunday.

"Six International Security Assistance Force service members died following an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan today," the military alliance said in a statement released here.

This is the bloodiest day for NATO-led forces since the beginning of December, bringing the fatalities of the alliance to 22 so far this month.

However, the statement did not identify the nationalities of the victims by saying "it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities."

Troops, mostly from the U.S., Britain, Australia and Canada, have been stationed in the restive southern region to stabilize security there.

The Taliban militants, who are fighting Afghan and NATO-led troops, carried out a car bomb attack in their former stronghold Kandahar in southern Afghanistan a day earlier on Saturday, wounding six people including five policemen.

Meanwhile, the NATO-led forces in a statement released on Saturday night claimed that more than 40 insurgents were killed since weekend.

"More than 40 insurgents were killed and one improvised explosive device components cache was discovered during separate clearing operations conducted by Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Force in eastern and southern Afghanistan in the past 24 hours," the statement emphasized.

According to the statement, "25 militants were killed in an airstrike in Nari district of the eastern Kunar province on Saturday."

Khalilullah Ziae,the police chief of Kunar province,said that Afghan security forces clashed with Taliban militants in Sarkano district on the same day Saturday, leaving 14 insurgents dead.

Nonetheless, a Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in talks with media via telephone from an undisclosed location confirmed the clash, saying the firefight lasted for several hours during which four Taliban fighters were killed and three others sustained injuries.

He also contended that the militants eliminated over a dozen Afghan and NATO soldiers in the gun battle, a claim rejected by Ziae as baseless.

Taliban and security officials often exaggerate the number of casualties inflicted on the rival side and it is difficult to confirm authenticity of the claims through independent sources.

However, both Taliban and the security forces have intensified activities to grab more lands and consolidate their positions since the beginning of the winter in the mountainous country.

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