Source Pravda.Ru

Afghan forces kill 31 suspected militants near Pakistan border, official says¤

Afghan government forces killed 31 suspected Taliban militants near the eastern border with Pakistan, the Defense Ministry confirmed Monday.

Insurgents attacked an Afghan army position near Angore Adda in Paktika province late Sunday, triggering a four-and-a-half hour clash with both sides using heavy weapons, ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zaher Azimi said .

From his words the militants eventually fled, leaving behind 28 dead bodies of their fighters. Four Afghan army soldiers were injured, one seriously.

"The fighting was intense," Azimi said, adding that the army captured a lot of ammunition from the militants, including anti-aircraft and artillery shells and rocket launchers.

He said no U.S.-led coalition forces took part.

Gen. Shorgul, deputy corps commander for the Afghan army in three eastern provinces including Paktika, said the militants had come across the border from Pakistan and fled back afterward.

Pakistan vehemently denies that it allows Taliban fighters sanctuary on its soil. In recent days, its army has been fighting with militants in North Waziristan on the Pakistan side of the border.

Taliban and al-Qaida rebels are active in the volatile south and east of Afghanistan and have stepped up attacks this year. More than 1,300 people, including hundreds of militants, have died in the past seven months.

In a separate clash Sunday, militants attacked a truck carrying supplies for U.S.-led coalition forces in Surobi district of eastern Paktia province, killing the truck driver.

In fighting that followed, three more militants were killed and two arrested. Two Afghan army officers were wounded.

The violence underlines the security problems still facing Afghanistan as it moves toward democracy, four years after the ouster of the hardline Taliban regime, the AP reports.

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