Page last updated at 07:19 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 08:19 UK

Dozens of Afghan Taleban 'killed'

Farah map

About 30 Taleban fighters have been killed in a joint Nato operation in the western province of Farah, Afghan military officials say.

The large operation was initially led by the Afghan National Army (ANA).

At a later stage, Nato warplanes were called in to bomb a compound said to house Taleban fighters.

Meanwhile, in the capital Kabul, three Afghan civilians were killed in a suicide car bomb attack aimed at a convoy of international troops.

Fierce fighting

Afghan forces and troops from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) surrounded a compound where rebels had massed in Bala Buluk district in Farah, military officials said.

Afghan National Army soldier
The ANA has been at the forefront or recent fighting

The army commander for western Afghanistan, Jalandar Shah Behnam, told the AFP news agency that in initial fighting, two Afghan soldiers and a policeman were killed and several were wounded.

"Later, Isaf air planes bombed the fort and 30 Taleban, including their ranking commanders, were killed," he said.

"There is no one left inside the fort."

The BBC's Kabul correspondent Martin Patience says fierce fighting went on for many hours in a series of different battles in Farah, which borders Iran.

Over recent months, there has been an increase in fighting between the Taleban and international and Afghan troops stationed in the province.

Often attacked

Meanwhile, officials in Kabul said three Afghan civilians were killed in a suicide car bomb attack aimed at a convoy of international troops in the capital.

Two civilians were also hurt, police said.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition force said none of the troops who were targeted in two military vehicles was wounded.

The bombing took place on a road which leads to several military bases and is often attacked by Taleban militants.

US troops arrived quickly at the scene and the area has been cordoned off.

The blast blew a big crater in the road and mangled parts of the car used in the attack littered the road, an AFP journalist at the scene reported.

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