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NATO, Pakistani Troops Kill Taliban On Afghan Border

KABUL -- NATO troops in Afghanistan and Pakistani soldiers together killed a number of militants along the rugged border, the NATO force said, in a rare show of close crossborder military cooperation.

Afghan officials have for the last month showered Islamabad with accusations it was aiding Taliban insurgents against Kabul, and NATO said on June 29 there could be no peace in Afghanistan as long as militants have sanctuaries in Pakistan. But Afghan, Pakistani, and NATO troops do have regular and open lines of communication to try to coordinate actions along the long and porous border.

Taliban insurgents fired rockets and rocket-propelled grenades at an outpost of troops from NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the Spera district of Khost province in eastern Afghanistan on June 30.

The troops responded with mortar, artillery fire, and air strikes, and the militants fled across the border.

"ISAF forces thus coordinated with the Pakistan military border area counterparts; and the Pakistan border force subsequently fired artillery on the retreating insurgents inside Pakistan," ISAF said in a statement.

ISAF does not disclose Taliban casualty figures.

Pakistani military spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.

The coordinated attacks contrast with a border clash on June 10 in which Pakistan said 11 of its soldiers were killed in an air strike by U.S. forces in the border area.

U.S. officials have ordered an investigation into the incident, but say those killed were firing on U.S. forces and that there were no Pakistani military units in the area at the time.

Almost all ISAF troops in eastern Afghanistan are American.

Poor relations and mutual distrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan have dogged efforts to undermine the hard-line Islamist insurgency, which now threatens both countries along the Pashtun belt on both sides of the border.