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Thursday August 17, 2006

US-led forces kill eight militants in clash in Afghanistan

KABUL (AP) - U.S.-led forces killed eight militants after coming under attack in eastern Afghanistan, the coalition said in a statement Thursday. 

The militants attacked with small arms and machine guns in the Asad Abad district of Kunar province on Wednesday, the statement said. No coalition troops were injured. 

U.S. and NATO forces have stepped up operations along Afghanistan's eastern and southern borders with Pakistan, where al-Qaida fugitives are believed to be at large along with allies from the toppled Taliban regime and other Islamic extremists. 

A separate operation on Thursday in the southeastern Paktika province turned up a weapons cache that included rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds, the military said. 

U.S. and Afghan forces also raided compounds suspected of being al-Qaida sanctuaries in southeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, seizing weapons and explosives and arresting eight people, military said. 

The compounds targeted in the pre-dawn raids near the villages of Paru Kheyl and Jabeh in the Yaqubi district of Khost province were believed to be sanctuaries for "al-Qaida facilitators,'' according to a military statement. 

"Credible intelligence linked the targeted terrorists to assisting foreign fighters and plotting improvised explosive device attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Khost province,'' the statement said. 

Weapons, explosives and communications equipment were found during the searches, it added. 

Afghanistan is going through its worst spate of violence since the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001 toppled the Taliban regime. 

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