KABUL, (Reuters) – Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces have killed more than 90 militants during several days of fighting in the south of the country this week, the U.S. military and the Afghan Interior Ministry said on Saturday.
Violence has risen in Afghanistan this year with about 2,500 people, including 1,000 civilians, killed in fighting between Taliban insurgents and foreign and Afghan forces, aid agencies say.
Clashes erupted on Wednesday when several militants attacked a joint Afghan and coalition patrol with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. military said in a statement.
“ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) and coalition forces returned fire with small arms and close air support. Multiple vehicles and enemy fighting positions were destroyed,” it said.
More than three dozen insurgents were killed, it added.
No soldiers from the Afghan and U.S. forces or any civilians were killed in the fighting, which was continuing on Saturday, a spokesman for the U.S. military said.
The U.S. military gave no more details about the location of the battle, but said Afghan and coalition forces had also killed more than 30 insurgents during three days of fighting in separate clashes in the southern province of Kandahar this week.
On Friday Afghan police killed 23 insurgents after militants attacked two separate police checkpoints in Nad Ali district of the southern province of Helmand, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Four policemen were wounded in one of the attacks, it said.
In another incident, militants attacked U.S.-led coalition forces in Kapisa province to the northeast of the capital, Kabul, on Friday, the U.S. military said.
“Coalition forces responded with air strikes and small-arms fire, killing the militants,” it said, without specifying how many insurgents were killed in that incident.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said Taliban fighters had taken control of the Marja district in the southern province of Helmand and the Nawa district in Ghazni province, south of Kabul.
Afghan district officials said their forces were pushing the Taliban back out of the districts.