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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Afghan raid kills '40 insurgents'
US led-troops and Afghan forces have killed more than 40 insurgents in a raid in southern Afghanistan, the coalition says.

An Afghan soldier was killed and three coalition soldiers were wounded in the operation which took place in Uruzgan province, a statement said.

A spokesman said the raid was conducted on an "extremist safe haven".

There has been an upsurge in violence recently. Coalition forces say that hundreds of Taleban have been killed.

Air strike

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Kabul says that almost every day the coalition reports clashes with Taleban fighters in southern Afghanistan, but there is no way to independently verify the claims.

US soldier in Afghanistan
Coalition clashes with the Taleban take place on an almost daily basis

President Karzai has expressed concern over the number of casualties caused by the offensive over recent weeks in four provinces in the south.

The coalition said the militants killed in Uruzgan were directly linked to the targeting of innocent Afghan civilians, non-government agency personnel and government officials.

It said there were no reports of civilian injuries during the fighting which consisted of an air strike by a B-1B bomber and exchanges of small arms fire.

"The enemy frequently used the compound as a sanctuary to conduct operations against local Afghans, government officials and coalition forces," the coalition statement said.

Correspondents say it was not immediately clear if the coalition had recovered the bodies of the dead militants.

The fighting follows heavy clashes in neighbouring Kandahar province over the weekend in which at least 19 suspected militants and a Canadian soldier were killed. Separately, a Taleban spokesman said that 40 coalition and Afghan forces had been killed in Uruzgan province.

The spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousuf, told the Afghan Islamic Press that they had also shot down a coalition plane.

Correspondents say that such claims by the militants rarely turn out to be true.

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