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Clashes In Afghanistan Leave 23 Dead

British soldiers on patrol in Helmand Province (file photo) (AFP) August 13, 2006 -- The U.S. military says at least 18 suspected Taliban militants and five Afghan Army soldiers were killed today when an army post was attacked in the southeastern province of Paktika.

In the eastern province of Konar, Afghan officials say at least 20 people were wounded when a rocket slammed into a house. No other details were available.

Clashes with militants late on August 12 cost the life of one Afghan soldier. Two others were injured in that incident, in the Barmal district of Paktika Province in southeastern Afghanistan. No information was available about any militant casualties.

In a separate incident, in Helmand Province, three Estonian soldiers were wounded when militants attacked their unit.

One NATO soldier -- a British soldier serving in Helmand Province -- died during the day, but in an accident involving a military vehicle rather than as a result of militant activity.

NATO said on August 13 that the alliance plans to redeploy its forces in southern Afghanistan, so it can take the fight to Taliban and other insurgents more effectively.

The military alliance says the head of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, British Lieutenant-General David Richards, has no plans to pull troops out of the south, where NATO troops have repeatedly come under attack.

(AFP, AP, dpa)

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