Violent clash in volatile region still underway. “40 militants killed in Afghanistan: US-led force,” from AFP, July 13:
KABUL (AFP) “” International and Afghan security forces killed at least 40 militants in an operation still under way in the southern province of Helmand, the US-led coalition said Sunday.
The fighting started on Saturday after militants ambushed an joint Afghan and international security patrol in the province’s volatile Sangin district, the US-led coalition said in a statement.
“The ensuing fight led ANSF (Afghanistan National Security Forces) and coalition forces to return fire and call for precision air strikes,” it said.
“At least 40 militants have been killed in the last two days, while over 30 enemy boats and several … bridges were also destroyed on the Helmand River,” it said.
A soldier with the same unit was killed by a bomb blast Sunday, the coalition announced earlier.
Helmand is a hotbed for violence by Islamist Taliban militants leading an insurgency against the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.
The violence has surged in recent weeks, with several suicide attacks blamed on the militants.