updated 12/4/2006 8:26:31 AM ET 2006-12-04T13:26:31

An estimated 70 to 80 Taliban militants were killed by NATO soldiers in fighting in southern Afghanistan after Afghan police told military authorities where insurgents had gathered, an official said Monday.

NATO soldiers suffered no casualties in the fighting in Helmand province late Saturday and early Sunday, said Maj. Luke Knittig, the spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

The ground commander estimated that between 70 and 80 militants were killed, he said.

“He had a pretty good idea of what he was up against and a pretty good idea of what effect he had on them,” Knittig said.

The fighting was in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province but outside the town of Musa Qala, where British troops earlier this year pulled out after an agreement with tribal elders that they would keep Taliban fighters out of town, Knittig said.

“The elders, as I understand it, have extraordinary influence, but that influence doesn’t spread across the whole district, just mostly in the town,” Knittig said.

Afghan security forces told NATO forces the last couple weeks about increasing insurgent activity in the area between the Musa Qala and Nawzad districts, Knittig said. About 100 to 150 Danish soldiers, along with Afghan security forces, fought against the insurgents. Attack helicopters and jet fighters were also used, Knittig said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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