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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 June 2006, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
'Scores of Afghan Taleban killed'
More than 40 suspected Taleban militants have been killed in clashes since Monday, the US-led coalition in Afghanistan says.

The clashes between militants and Afghan and coalition soldiers took place in Zabul and Uruzgan provinces, a coalition statement said.

Separately, three people have been killed in an explosion near the Afghan capital, Kabul on Friday.

Violence has been escalating in southern and eastern Afghanistan.


A statement by the US-led coalition said "more than 30" militants were killed in a clash with Afghan and Canadian forces in Arghandab district in Zabul on Monday.

"Joint fires were employed, forcing remaining enemies to flee," the statement said.

A spokesman for the coalition said the operations against militants would continue in Zabul.

"There are known Taleban extremists in Zabul province, and Afghan national security and coalition forces will continue to attack these enemies of Afghanistan until the province is safe and secure," Lt Col Paul Fitzpatrick said.

"We will not be deterred from our mission to provide a safe and secure environment to the Afghan people," he added.

Another 14 militants were killed in two separate clashes in Uruzgan province on Thursday, coalition officials said.

A clash happened in the Deh Rawood district when a coalition patrol "effectively disrupted the operations of approximately 30 insurgents" who were gathering outside a village.

Coalition soldiers in Zabul
Coalition forces say they will continue their operations in Zabul
"Coalition forces attacked the extremist positions with artillery, killing 10 enemy fighters. The remaining enemy fighters broke contact and quickly fled the area," the statement said.

In a separate operation in the district, four militants were killed after the security forces foiled an ambush attempt.

No Afghan or foreign soldiers were injured in these operations, the statement said.

Climate of fear

On Friday, a politician, a village elder and a driver travelling in a car were killed by a roadside bomb, south of the Afghan capital, Kabul, officials said.

Kabul police chief Amanullah Ghazar said the bomb exploded in the Musayi district of Kabul province and hit the convoy of Kabul intelligence chief Humayoon Aini who was returning to the city after a meeting south of the capital.

Mr Aini, who was travelling in a different vehicle, was not hurt.

Violence has been rising sharply in recent months, with a series of roadside bombings against security forces and suicide attacks.

The BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says the attack has created a climate of fear in Kabul as the capital was considered to be one of the safest places in the country.

Last month, a suspected suicide bomber detonated a bomb outside Kabul, killing himself and a civilian bystander.

The target was apparently a convoy of US-led coalition forces but no coalition soldiers were injured in the attack.

In March, suicide bombers tried to kill Afghanistan's Senate leader, when their vehicle carrying explosives blew up near his convoy in Kabul. Four people died in the attack.

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