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U.S.: Afghan cell attacked, 5 militants killed

U.S. forces say coalition troops have attacked a bomb-making cell in eastern Afghanistan, killing 10 militants.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A raid by coalition troops in eastern Afghanistan killed five al-Qaida associated militants and eight others were detained, including a militant leader, the U.S. military said in a statement Sunday.

A NATO soldier died in a roadside bomb attack in the south, the military said.

The detained al-Qaida linked militant is accused of assisting the Taliban with the movement and training of Arab and other foreign fighters into Afghanistan, the coalition statement said, without identifying him.

The troops conducted the raid in Paktia's province Zurmat district Saturday. Five armed militants were killed and eight detained, the coalition said.

The U.S. military said it will keep a military pressure on militants throughout the winter after violence by the Taliban and other insurgent groups spiked this year to record levels. Attacks are up 30 percent from 2007, military officials say.

More than 5,400 people — mostly militants — have died in insurgency related violence this year in Afghanistan, according to a tally by The Associated Press of figures provided by Afghan and international officials.

In southern Afghanistan, a NATO soldier was killed when a roadside bomb hit their patrol Saturday, the military alliance said in a statement. It did not identify the soldiers' nationality or the exact location of the attack.

Another five insurgents were killed in the southern Uruzgan province Friday after a firefight with the coalition and Afghan troops, the U.S. military said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Khost province, coalition and Afghan troops detained another militant leader of the network led by Afghan insurgent leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, the coalition said.

"During the combined operation, the force discovered 10 additional males believed to be militants and seeking safe haven as they move into Terezai district to conduct attacks," coalition statement said.

The U.S. once considered Jalaluddin Haqqani a "freedom fighter" against the former Soviet Union, but he and his son Sirajuddin are now considered their main threat in eastern Afghanistan.