NATO forces in Afghanistan said Thursday they had killed a "large number" of Taliban fighters and captured a rebel chieftain after a raid on an insurgent hideout in the southern province of Helmand.
Troops called in air support during running gunbattles in the province's troubled Baghran district which erupted after rebels attacked soldiers moving in on the compound with machine guns and rockets, it said, AFP reports.
The June death toll of 102, announced on Wednesday, is almost triple the number of US and Nato soldiers killed in May, and the new US commander warned that fighting would get tougher before the situation on the ground could improve.
At a senate hearing on his nomination to replace his sacked predecessor, US General David Petraeus said foreign troops in Afghanistan were fighting an "industrial-strength insurgency", Aljazeera.net informs.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia