Dozens of Taliban fighters were killed in US air strikes and a firefight in western Afghanistan, which followed an attack by the Taliban rebels on an army patrol, NATO and Afghan officials said Friday.
An Afghan military patrol was attacked in Gulistan district in western Farah province on Wednesday, prompting a call for air support, Reuters reported, citing an International Security Assistance Force spokesperson. Numerous insurgents were killed, and several motorbikes were damaged or destroyed following two strikes by coalition aircraft, he said.
About 30 Taliban militants were killed and another 15 injured in the gunbattle in the remote Afghan province, Abdul Raoof Ahmadi, an Afghan police spokesperson said.
Five vehicles of Afghan national army came under attack and three soldiers were charred inside the vehicles while they were crossing Gulistan, Mohammed Yunus Rasouli, the deputy governor for Farah, said.
Tensions between the Afghan rebels and the coalition troops have mounted in recent weeks since the US Army staff sergeant Robert Bales allegedly murdered 16 Afghan civilians, including 9 children, 3 women and 4 men. The tragic killing spree by the US soldier closely followed a controversial incident in which the US troops were accused of burning copies of Quran in Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
Officials have warned of a tumultuous summer, predicted brutal fights ahead as Afghan national forces take control of more regions of the country. The NATO forces are set to withdraw from Afghan soil by the end of 2014.
Meanwhile, the Afghan security forces paraded insurgents dressed as women in front of reporters to show the lengths the insurgents are ready to go, to get close to the coalition forces, Australian Associated Press reported Friday.
Militants dressed in traditional women's clothing, but with full beard, were arrested in Mehterlam, Laghman province, east of Kabul, Intelligence officials said.
According to recent reports, insurgents are increasingly resorting to desperate tactics including use of children as lookouts and suicide bombers.