NATO strikes kill `more than 20 Afghan rebels`

Over 150,000 foreign forces in Afghanistan support Karzai against Taliban.

Kandahar: NATO said on Friday that air strikes killed more than 20 rebels in Afghanistan`s troubled south.

The force said one raid was called in on Thursday after militants opened fire on coalition aircraft flying above Spin Boldak, a district bordering Pakistan in the insurgency-hit province of Kandahar.

"When the air weapons team received small-arms and machine gun fire from a large group of insurgents, it returned fire with rockets and the aircraft`s 30mm cannon," it said.

Air weapons team is a military term for helicopter gunships.

The military said soldiers then impounded 17 motorcycles, a vehicle widely used by rebels in hit-and-run attacks. A car and several weapons were also seized, it added.

NATO said a separate air strike killed two guerrillas, one of them allegedly a senior Taliban leader, in the neighbouring province of Zabul on Thursday.

"Coalition forces conducted the precision air strike on the vehicle, destroying it and killing two occupants," it said.

There are more than 150,000 US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan supporting President Hamid Karzai`s administration against the Taliban, whose nine-year insurgency is concentrated in the south.

Bureau Report

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