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Afghan Clashes Leave Suspected Militants, Civilians Dead

April 16, 2006 -- Officials say police posts were attacked in southern Afghanistan overnight, sparking fighting that left 14 suspected Taliban militants dead.

Meanwhile, U.S. military sources have confirmed that at least seven civilians were killed in the eastern part of the country when they were caught up in fighting between U.S.-led forces and militants.

Overnight Attacks

The police chief of Zabul Province, Mohammad Nabi Molakhel, said the overnight attacks occurred along a main highway in the south of the country.

AFP news agency quoted a Taliban spokesman, Yousuf Ahmadi, as contradicting official reports, saying just two militants were killed in the clashes, along with nine policemen. Police sources said they had suffered no casualties.

The fighting followed heavy clashes in neighboring Kandahar Province on April 14 that reportedly left 41 suspected Taliban militants and six Afghan police officers dead. The Reuters news agency quoted residents as saying four civilians were also killed.

The U.S. military says Afghan and U.S.-led coalition soldiers killed three more suspected Taliban fighters on April 15 after being ambushed in central Oruzgan Province.

Civilians Killed In Eastern Battle

The U.S. military said seven civilians were killed and three others wounded after they got caught up in fighting between U.S.-led forces and militants in eastern Afghanistan.

The deaths came late on April 15, in the Korangal Valley of Kunar Province, after U.S. soldiers called in air support and artillery to suppress fire from militants. The U.S. military has promised an investigation into the tragedy.

(compiled from agency reports)

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