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Central Asians Reported Among Militants Killed In Afghanistan

Afghan officials say Russian-speaking Central Asians were among dozens of militants killed in southern Afghanistan on March 4.

Local officials in Zabul Province say the militants were killed when Afghan security forces launched an operation to free some 30 hostages kidnapped by masked gunmen in the province of Zabul last month.

Afghan National Army General Abdul-Hameed Hameed said 21 of those killed were "foreign fighters," many of whom were Kyrgyz. One woman, also described as a Kyrgyz, was among the dead. Another female militant, also reported by Hammed as Kyrgyz, was hospitalized.

Meanwhile, police officials in Zabul say the majority of the killed foreign fighters, as well as the wounded woman, were Kazakh.

Officials at Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry told RFE/RL that they had no information on the report and could not comment the Afghan officials' statement, adding that the ministry would officially ask Afghan authorities to clarify the situation.