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    Security and Crime

    A dozen militants killed in Helmand operations

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): A dozen insurgents have been killed in joint operations by Afghan and NATO-led soldiers in the southern province of Helmand, officials said on Tuesday.

    At least one fighter was arrested as a result of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) airstrike on a rebel hideout in the Ishaqzai area of Sangin district on Monday, the Governor's House said.

    Six militants were killed in Tarmi and Khumari areas of the same district in separate raids by the foreign soldiers. Another three guerrillas were killed during a ground operation in the Qala-i-Gaz area. Neither the joint force nor civilians suffered any casualties

    The Taliban, on the other hand, claimed the fighters had killed several Afghan and foreign troops in attacks and bomb blasts. But officials rejected the claim as baseless.

    In northeastern Badakhshan province, police chief, Gen. Mohammad Ishaq Tamkin, said two policemen were wounded and eight others seized by the Taliban during an ambush in Wardaj district.

    The rebels claimed killing and kidnapping a large number of policemen. However, they did not give specific figures.

    Deputy Governor Shams Rahman said police had been sent to the area and a rescue operation was underway.

    A two-hour clash also erupted in the area, where the fighters armed with Kalashnikovs and rockets ambushed policemen Monday afternoon, resident Abdul Jabbar told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the fighters had killed 15 policemen and kidnapped 30 others. A clash with police was still ongoing, said, adding only three guerrillas were wounded and a huge quantity weapons seized from police.

    The district police chief was also in Taliban's captivity, Mujahid said. The fighters had seized 20 police vehicles, he claimed.

    However, the deputy governor denied the kidnapping of the district police chief. Previously, Governor Shah Waliullah Adib had said his province was ready for the second phase of security transition from foreign troops to Afghan forces.

    frm/mud