KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Afghan and U.S. troops backed by warplanes blasted Taliban hideouts for a second day on Wednesday, killing scores of militants in some of the bloodiest fighting in years, officials said.
Kandahar’s deputy police chief, General Salim Khan, leading about 400 police troops, said by satellite telephone from the scene that at least 64 Taliban fighters had been killed since Tuesday and 30 captured.
Two Afghan soldiers died and six U.S. soldiers were wounded in the operation where Kandahar, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces meet, aimed at checking a surge in violence ahead of Sept. 18 parliamentary elections, Afghan and U.S. officials said.
“This is the heaviest bombing and fighting I have seen since the fall of the Taliban,” Khan said, referring to the overthrow of the Taliban government in late 2001 by U.S.-led forces.
Hundreds of people have died in a surge in militant violence in recent months, raising concerns about the elections, the next big step in Afghanistan’s difficult path to stability…