Coalition forces kill more than a dozen Taliban in Afghanistan

Kabul - US-led coalition forces claimed Wednesday to have killed more than a dozen Taliban insurgents in volatile southern Afghanistan, while another four were detained by the combined forces elsewhere.

Afghan and coalition forces on Monday spotted a large number of heavily armed militants gathering in small groups and preparing to attack soldiers in Sangin district of the restive Helmand province, the US military said in a statement.

"The troops engaged the militants with small arms, machine guns, and close air support, killing more than a dozen militants," the statement said.

No Afghan or coalition soldiers were hurt in the incident, the military added.

Due to the remoteness of the area, it was difficult to independently verify the US military's assertions.

Meanwhile, four suspected militants were detained Tuesday by Afghan and coalition forces in the south-eastern province of Paktika, near the border with Pakistan, the statement said.

The combined forces were targeting a militant, who had been facilitating the movement of foreign fighters and weapons from Pakistan into Afghanistan during their search operation, it said, but did not elaborate whether the targeted militant was among the arrested.

Afghan and US officials have accused the Taliban of having bases inside Pakistan, from where they cross the border and stage attacks on Afghan and international forces.

More than 3,500 people - mostly insurgents - have been killed in violence in Afghanistan so far this year, according to figures provided by Afghan and foreign military sources. (dpa)