40 rebels perish in clash with Paktika security forces
SHARAN (PAN): Forty militants were killed and 14 others wounded during a fierce clash with security personnel in the southeastern province of Paktika, the governor’s office said on Saturday.
The predawn gunbattle was triggered by attacks on border posts in the Niamatabad area of Gomal district, a statement from the governor’s house said. NATO-led troops provided air support to Afghan border guards during the engagement.
At least two police were wounded in the assaults by the insurgents who sneaked into the remote border area from Pakistani territory. A Taliban commander, named Mullah Zanzir, was among the fatalities, according to the statement that said the injured policemen were in stable condition.
Paktika police chief Daulat Khan Zadran, who confirmed the rebel casualties, said: “A large number of fighters crossed the Durand Line and staged attacks on several security checkpoints.”
A Niamatabad resident said the firefight that erupted at midnight continued until 3am. “An airstrike also took place. In the morning, villagers collected the bodies of 22 guerrillas,” he added.
But Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, conceded the loss of only five members of the insurgent movement. Another four fighters were wounded, he said, claiming that heavy casualties were inflicted on security forces.
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