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More Than 20 Insurgents Killed In Afghanistan

KABUL -- Afghan soldiers backed by international air support have killed more than 20 Taliban insurgents in the east and west of the country, a provincial police chief and the U.S. military said.

Violence has risen in Afghanistan this year with about 2,500 people, including 1,000 civilians, killed so far in fighting between insurgents and foreign and Afghan forces, aid agencies say.

In the first incident, Afghan and coalition forces killed 20 Taliban militants in the western province of Farah on August 8, provincial police chief Khalilullah Rahmani told Reuters.

"The Taliban were gathering for a meeting in an area of Bala Boluk district," he said.

"An air strike targeted the meeting and killed 20 of them." Fourteen people were wounded.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition forces said attack helicopters took part after soldiers came under attack.

"Coalition forces received small arms and indirect fire from an unknown number of anti-Afghan forces," the spokesman said, adding that coalition forces suffered no damage or casualties.

He did not specify whether any insurgents were killed or wounded in the incident.

In a separate incident, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed a known militant in an air strike in the eastern province of Paktika on August 8.

Coalition forces identified a separate militant group "maneuvering" against them and responded with small-arms fire killing several, it said.

A woman was injured in the clash was airlifted to a coalition medical facility.

Elsewhere, a child was killed and two were wounded when insurgents attacked soldiers of the NATO-led force on August 8 in the northeastern province of Konar, the force said in a statement the next day.

"This is the second attack in this area during the past two weeks in which insurgents have killed Afghan children," it said.