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Last Updated: Monday, 3 July 2006, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
'Militants killed' in Afghanistan
US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan say they have killed 20 suspected militants in a clash in the south of the country.

The military said the militants attacked a coalition patrol in southern Helmand province on Sunday.

Separately, a coalition soldier has been killed after a helicopter crashed in Kandahar province, an official said.

Enemy fire has been ruled out as the cause of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter crash.

The helicopter was responding to a reported rocket attack against the Kandahar airfield, a coalition official said.

One coalition soldier was also injured in the helicopter crash on Sunday night.

The nationalities of the dead soldier and his injured colleague have not yet been disclosed.

There were no casualties in the reported rocket attack, the spokesman said.

Major offensive

A major offensive is currently underway against militants in the south and east of the country.

Afghan and coalition forces continue their successful attacks... to deny the enemy sanctuary
Coalition spokesman Paul Fitzpatrick

Two coalition soldiers were wounded in Sunday's clash with militants in the Sangin district of Helmand.

The patrol had completed a search operation when nearly 30 militants attacked it with small arms and mortar fire, a coalition statement said.

"Afghan and coalition forces continue their successful attacks on extremists in selected areas of southern Afghanistan to deny the enemy sanctuary," said spokesman Lt Col Paul Fitzpatrick.

Last week, the coalition forces said they had killed 14 Taleban militants in the eastern Nuristan province.

Violence has soared in Afghanistan with the Taleban vowing to drive out foreign forces.

Two British soldiers died during operations in Helmand province on Saturday.

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