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NATO Says It's Cornering Militants In Afghanistan

September 5, 2006 -- NATO says an ongoing joint offensive aimed at flushing out Taliban militants from a stronghold in southern Afghanistan is pushing the guerrillas into a corner.

Operation Medusa involves hundreds of NATO and Afghan forces supported by artillery fire and air strikes.

NATO spokesman Quentin Innis says around 50 militants were killed in clashes today in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar Province.

The alliance previously said that more than 200 Taliban militants have been killed and another 80 captured since the beginning of the operation on September 2, a figure that a purported Taliban spokesman has disputed.

Qari Yousaf Ahmadi told AP news agency that Taliban fighters were offering fierce resistance to NATO and Afghan forces. He also denied NATO's claims that an estimated 700 militants were being trapped by the offensive.

(AP, Reuters)