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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Two 'rebels' die in Afghan clash
US troops in Afghanistan
The US leads about 18,000 foreign soldiers in Afghanistan
Two suspected militants have been killed and 12 others captured in a clash with Afghan and US-led coalition forces in southern Afghanistan.

A US military statement said the clash occurred north of the southern city of Kandahar.

Separately, police say 18 commanders linked to an anti-government warlord, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, have surrendered.

There has been an increase in militant activity in the south and east of the country after a lull during the winter.

About 18,000 US-led foreign troops are in Afghanistan tracking al-Qaeda and Taleban militants.

The incident happened when the Afghan and coalition forces spotted a group of 15 rebels moving in a narrow valley and blocked their way, a US military statement said.

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Two militants were killed and another wounded in the gun battle.

The soldiers detained 12 rebels from the group after a "complete search of the area," the statement said.

About 150 rebels have been killed in violence this year, according to the US and Afghan government figures quoted by the Reuters news agency.

On Monday, a suicide bomber wounded four US soldiers in an attack on an American military vehicle near Kandahar.

Surrender

The commanders linked to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were said to have surrendered as part of a reconciliation drive aimed at former militants.

The fighters are said to have given themselves up in the south-eastern town of Gardez on Sunday.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's group, Hezb-e-Islami, is suspected of carrying out a string of attacks against US and Afghan troops.

Last month, the Afghan government extended its amnesty scheme to include top figures in the former ruling Taleban, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.




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