Kabul: A fierce gunfight backed by US helicopter killed 12 Taliban and led to captive of six others in eastern Afghanistan after militants forced their way into a clinic seeking treatment for their leader, officials and NATO said on Thursday.
An American soldier was killed in the violence, which broke out as Afghan forces were trying to capture a suspected Taliban commander, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under NATO said in a statement.
"Twelve Taliban were killed in the fighting that raged for about six hours, and six others were captured," said Hamidullah Zhwak, the provincial spokesman, adding a clinic guard was also wounded.
Acting on a tip-off, Afghan security forces surrounded the clinic at around midday in the small Sar Hawza district of Paktika province, which borders Pakistan and is a hotbed of Taliban violence.
The ISAF statement said the "suspected insurgent leader" was being treated for injuries sustained during fighting on election day, August 20.
The Afghan soldiers "were clearing the clinic when they received direct fire attack," the statement said.
More troops, international and Afghan, arrived to provide backup, it said, and once all civilians had been brought safely out of the clinic, an Apache helicopter was called in to fire on the building.