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Afghan, NATO Troops Battle Haqqani Militants Near Pakistan Border

NATO says more than 20 Islamic militants -- including Arab, Chechen, and Pakistani fighters -- have been killed by NATO and Afghan forces who are ramping up operations in southeastern Afghanistan against a Taliban faction linked to Al-Qaeda.

The United States considers the Haqqani group, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin, as one of the most dangerous Taliban networks.

It is based in the western border area of Pakistan, where U.S. forces cannot operate on the ground.

The operation began on August 11 against dozens of insurgents holed up in a mountainous area of the Zadran district of Paktia Province near the border with Pakistan.

It is aimed at disrupting the Haqqani network's movement in an area used to stage attacks in Kabul -- and along a highway that links Khost Province and Gardez, the provincial capital of Paktia.

Separately, a NATO soldier was killed today in an attack by insurgents in southern Afghanistan, the military said without giving further information.

compiled from agency reports