Source AP ©

Several militants killed in airstrike in Afghanistan

U.S. coalition troops and Afghan forces fought with rebels and made airstrikes on southern Afghanistan . Several militants are dead.

The NATO-led force, meanwhile, said the number of attacks by militants on remote government facilities have dropped by half this year compared with 2006.

Insurgents attacked the joint force with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenades in Deh Rawood district, in Uruzgan province on Tuesday, before fleeing into a civilian home, the coalition said in a statement.

"Shortly after the combined force determined the enemy's positions, four separate precision air strikes effectively eliminated the insurgents who were trying to reinforce the enemy positions," the coalition said late Tuesday.

There were no reports of casualties among coalition and Afghan forces.

More than 5,800 people, mostly militants, have died in insurgency-related violence this year, a record, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.

The number of militant attacks on remote Afghan government district centers have decreased by half in 2007, said Brig. Gen. Carlos Branco, the spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force. Branco did not provide figures to back up his claim.

A number of regional government centers have been overrun by militants in recent weeks, especially in the country's west and center. Militants usually flee the centers as Afghan and foreign troops approach.

The militants use these sort of attacks to make it look as though they control the area, Branco said.

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