KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Fighting killed two coalition soldiers and 45 militants in southern Afghanistan, military officials said Sunday.
The two soldiers were wounded during an operation on Saturday in support of Operation Mountain Thrust and later died at a hospital, the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement. Another coalition soldier was wounded.
The nationalities of the soldiers weren’t immediately released pending notification of next of kin.
Coalition and Afghan forces killed about 45 Taliban militants during the fighting, the coalition said.
The four-hour gunbattle began late Saturday in the Panjwayi district of southern Kandahar province, said Gen. Rahmatullah Roufi.
Coalition forces initially engaged eight to 10 enemy fighters, the coalition said. The militants attempted to flee the but then joined other fighters in a nearby compound.
Coalition forces attacked the compound, killing an estimated 45 militants, the coalition said.
Military officials recovered a weapons cache of AK-47s and rocket- propelled grenades, Roufi said.
The deaths come a day after more than 80 militants were reported killed in multiple gunfights in southern Afghanistan.
Coalition forces have launched an offensive against Taliban forces in a bid to stop a wave of suicide attacks and ambushes in southern Afghanistan the past few months.
More than 10,000 British, Canadian, U.S. and Afghan troops are deployed across Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces _ areas where Taliban forces have regrouped and gained strength.