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U.S. Jets Attack Taliban Targets After Battles

August 29, 2003|From Associated Press

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — U.S. fighter jets and helicopters bombed suspected Taliban hide-outs Thursday in Afghanistan's rugged southern mountains after intense battles between the insurgents and Afghan troops, officials said.

The troops were trying to flush out the Taliban from Zabol province when the guerrillas attacked with heavy machine guns in the Chinaran mountains, Haji Granai, an Afghan military commander, said by satellite telephone from Chinaran.

Khalil Hotak, chief of the provincial intelligence service, said the fighting lasted four hours. The Taliban guerrillas were entrenched in a gorge, making it difficult for Afghan and coalition forces to move against them.

Five Taliban bodies were found in a bunker, and four soldiers were wounded, he said.

Two U.S. bombers and two helicopters helped, Granai said as explosions were heard in the background. There was no independent confirmation and no comment from the U.S.

In fighting earlier this week, a provincial official said, about 40 Taliban and three Afghan soldiers were killed in continuing operations to clear guerrillas from the province.

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