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Afghan Air Strikes, Police Raids Kill 48 Militants

KHOST, Afghanistan -- An air strike killed 30 Taliban in southeastern Afghanistan close to the border with Pakistan, and Afghan police killed 18 more militants in the south of the country, officials said on August 27.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan this year as the hardline Islamist Taliban have stepped up their campaign of guerrilla attacks and suicide and roadside bombs to oust the pro-Western Afghan government and drive out foreign troops.

International troops called in the air strike that killed 30 Taliban fighters after the militants attacked a convoy of foreign troops and Afghan forces in the Sarobi district of Paktika Province near the border with Pakistan on August 26, Deputy Provincial Governor Abdul Malik said.

"Only six of our police were wounded in the Taliban attack," Malik said, adding there were no casualties among foreign troops in the incident.

The same day, 18 Taliban were killed in a clash with police in the Nad Ali district of southern Helmand Province, one of the main bastions for the Taliban, the provincial police chief said. He said police suffered no losses.

The Taliban could not be reached for comment and independent verification of the deaths was not possible.

Separately on August 26, four police died when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle in Ghazni Province, which lies on the main highway linking Kabul with western and southern regions, an official said.