Source AP ©

11 suspected Taliban killed during operation in southern Afghanistan

At least 11 suspected Taliban were killed during an operation in southern Afghanistan.

Ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi said the operation was carried out in the Zhari district of Kandahar province early Tuesday and that regional Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Manan was among those killed. He labeled it a joint NATO-Afghan operation.

The provincial police chief, Esmatullah Alizai, said airstrikes early Tuesday in Zhari killed 60 suspected Taliban militants, but NATO's International Security Assistance Force said it was unaware of any "airstrikes or significant operations" in Kandahar.

Alizai did not answer repeated phone calls to verify his report. He said earlier that the airstrike was based on "good information" and that regional Taliban commander Manan, Mullah Abdul Hakim and Mullah Zarif died in the strike.

The latest violence comes days after the Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Dadullah, was killed in southern Afghanistan during a U.S.-led operation that also involved NATO and Afghan troops.

Dadullah was killed in the Sangin area of Helmand province, which has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks. Airstrikes last week near Sangin killed between 20 and 40 civilians, according to Afghan officials and villagers, the latest in a series of operations marred by civilian deaths that has weakened support for international forces.

In eastern Paktika province, insurgents ambushed a police patrol early Tuesday, and the ensuing two-hour clash left two policemen and a suspected militant dead, said Ghamai Khan, a spokesman for the governor.

In Nuristan province, Afghan soldiers traveling in a truck hit a roadside bomb on Monday, killing seven soldiers and wounding three, the Defense Ministry said. Four other soldiers were missing after the attack.

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