33 Militants Killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A series of clashes in southern Afghanistan left 33 suspected Taliban militants dead, while a roadside bomb killed two NATO soldiers, officials said Saturday.

Twenty-three Taliban militants were killed during a U.S.-led coalition operation aimed at disrupting a weapons transfer in southern Afghanistan, the coalition said Saturday.

A truck apparently full of Taliban weapons exploded during the operation in Helmand province’s Garmsir district. Coalition troops detained 11 people suspected of being part of a weapons running operation.

Also in a south, a roadside bomb killed two NATO soldiers and their translator on Saturday, the alliance said in a statement. Three other NATO soldiers were wounded in the blast that hit the vehicle they were ridding, the statement said.

NATO did not identify the nationalities of the dead and wounded soldiers or the exact location of the blast.

In Kandahar province, meanwhile, Canadian and Afghan troops battled militants in Zhari district on Saturday, leaving at least 10 suspected militants dead, said provincial police chief, Sayed Agha Saqeb.

Authorities recovered the bodies of four dead militants alongside their weapons and ammunition, Saqeb said. There were no causalities among Canadian and Afghan troops, he said.

In the western province of Ghor, meanwhile, between four and nine police were killed Friday after militants attacked them during a police operation in Shahark district, Gen. Shah Jahon Noori, the provincial police chief, said Saturday.

Separately, a suicide bomber on a motorbike attacked a NATO convoy in Nangarhar province’s Chaparhar district on Saturday, killing an Afghan civilian and wounding another NATO soldier, officials said. The bomber was killed in the blast which also left two civilians wounded, said Noor Agha Zuwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Afghanistan has seen record levels of violence this year. More than 5,800 people have been killed in insurgency related violence in 2007, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.

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