NATO air strike kills 15 insurgents in Afghanistan

NATO said it had killed at least 15 insurgents in an air strike in northeast Afghanistan.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2010, 18:50 PM IST

Kabul: NATO said it had killed at least 15
insurgents in an air strike in northeast Afghanistan on Friday.

The US-led NATO force has stepped up attacks on
insurgents since this spring under Washington`s new Afghan war
strategy, which aims to root out Taliban militants before
drawing down the military presence next year.

The force said the air strikes took place after
soldiers battling the rebels in Kunar province, a troubled
region on the Pakistani border, called in air support.

"After positively identifying insurgents setting up
what has been known as a historical attack position in the
area an air weapons team engaged them, resulting in 15
insurgents killed," the NATO-run International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

Afghan leaders have criticised the use of air
assaults on the grounds that they often cause civilian
casualties, but NATO said no civilians were killed.

"Initial reports indicate all rounds were on target
and there were no injuries to civilians in the area," the
force added.

ISAF said it had killed up to 114 insurgents in
September, while another 114 suspected insurgents were
detained.

"More importantly, the security force captured or
killed more than 105 Haqqani Network and Taliban leaders," the
force said in a statement, referring to Taliban-linked
insurgent groups.

"These leadership figures include shadow governors,
leaders, sub-leaders and weapons facilitators."

The statement could not be independently verified.

NATO lost 57 soldiers in Afghanistan in September,
compared to 79 the previous month, according to a tally by
AFP. So far 547 foreign soldier have lost their lives in
Afghanistan this year, compared with 521 last year.

PTI