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23 Taliban militants killed in Afghan clashes

/ Source: The Associated Press

Afghan and foreign troops fought with militants and called in airstrikes in a series of clashes in Afghanistan that left 23 militants dead and 20 others wounded, officials said Monday.

The joint forces clashed with militants Monday in the Qarabagh district of Ghazni province, leaving six Taliban fighters dead and eight others wounded, said Zia Wali, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

There were no casualties among the Afghan and foreign forces, Wali said.

In other violence, U.S. and Afghan troops fought off coordinated insurgent attacks in eastern Afghanistan, and called in airstrikes that left a dozen militants dead and a dozen more wounded, the U.S. military said in a statement.

As many as 40 insurgents attacked five military outposts Sunday in the Korangal Valley of volatile eastern Kunar province, using small arms fire, rockets and mortars, the military said in a statement.

No U.S. or Afghan soldiers were hurt.

The Korangal Valley is one of the most volatile areas in Afghanistan. Korangal's high mountains — densely wooded and riddled with caves — are used by militants to launch near-daily attacks on remote U.S. bases.

More than 1,000 people, mostly militants, have been killed in insurgency-related violence in Afghanistan this year, according to an Associated Press tally of figures from Afghan and Western officials.

In neighboring Nangarhar province, a raid targeting a bomb maker sparked a clash that left two militants and an Afghan soldier dead, another coalition statement said.

Four other suspected insurgents were arrested during the operation Sunday in Bati Kot district, it said.

Separately, militants trying to plant a mine under a bridge on a road that links Kandahar to Kabul set off the device accidentally Monday, leaving three Taliban fighters dead, said Ghulab Shah Alikheil, a local official.