DAILY NEWS – PAKISTAN) KABUL: Four suspected militants were killed and five others were arrested in a pre-dawn raid by US-led and Afghan forces in eastern Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday.
The men were killed when they engaged coalition and Afghan forces in a gunfight in Barikaw district of eastern Nangarhar province, provincial official Faizanul Haq said. “They were killed during a exchange of fire,” said Haq who is a close aid to provincial governor Din Mohammad.
The fighting erupted when armed men attacked the troops from a house where the soldiers later arrested five other armed individuals, he added. Haq did not say who the men were affiliated with but said coalition and Afghan forces were on a search operation when the clash occurred.
A high-ranking ministry of defence official who asked not to be named confirmed the casualties and arrests but said the operation was mainly carried out by coalition forces rather than Afghans.
US military spokesman Major Mark McCann said he had no information on the incident. “We are still looking into it,” he said.
Fewer attacks since Afghan polls: Afghanistan has experienced a “significant decrease” in the number of attacks by Taliban-linked insurgents along the Indo-Pak border since last month’s presidential elections, the US military said on Saturday.
Addressing a news briefing in Kabul, US military spokesman Major Scott Nelson said that while it had been exceptionally quiet in the troubled south and southeastern areas of the country in the three weeks following the elections, the threat of violence by remnants of the Taliban regime remained. He said he hoped that the 18,000-strong coalition force would lower the risk, adding that the US was having “quite a bit of success” with its Afghan partners.