Kandahar (Reuters) More than 70 Taliban militants have been killed in fighting with Nato and Afghan forces in the southern province of Kandahar, a police official said yesterday.
Four policemen were also killed in the battle in Panjwai district, southwest of Kandahar city, that erupted late on Saturday, said Panjwai police chief Neyaz Mohammad Sarhadi.
"So far, we've recovered the bodies of 72 Taliban," Sarhadi said.
He said the battle began when hundreds of Taliban attacked government headquarters in the district where clashes have erupted regularly since May when Taliban were found to have infiltrated. Nato aircraft were also involved in the fighting that raged through the night, he said.
A Nato spokesman, Major Scott Lundy, said the Taliban had suffered significant casualties. He said the Nato force had not suffered losses.
A Taliban spokesman told a Pakistan-based news agency 12 Taliban were killed while at least 30 Nato and government troops had died. Nato aircraft had killed many civilians, the spokesman said.
Afghanistan is experiencing its worst violence since the Taliban were ousted in 2001. Although the insurgents are not in a position to defeat the Western-backed government, the war is sapping support for President Hamid Karzai, analysts say.
More than 1,800 people have been killed in violence this year, most of them militants but including more than 90 foreign troops.