Official Says Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill 50 Militants

Posted November 9th, 2011 at 4:40 am (UTC-5)
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A local official says Afghan and NATO troops have killed at least 50 Taliban militants who launched an attack on a base near the Pakistani border.

A spokesman for the governor of Paktika province said the combined force responded late Tuesday as a large group of militants attacked the base.

NATO confirmed an attack took place and that coalition aircraft helped fight the militants, but it did not say how many insurgents had been killed.

Earlier Tuesday, Australia's defense ministry said an Afghan soldier shot and seriously wounded three Australian soldiers at a base in southern Afghanistan.

Officials say the Afghan soldier was armed with an automatic weapon and a grenade launcher when he opened fire at the base in Uruzgan province. The attack also wounded two Afghan soldiers.

A search was underway for the shooter, who fled in an Afghan army vehicle.

The attack comes less than two weeks after another Afghan soldier shot dead three Australian soldiers and wounded seven others during a parade.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Wednesday that while the incidents are “distressing” and “dreadful,” the country's mission in Afghanistan must continue.

Australia has 1,550 troops in Afghanistan, the largest number of any non-NATO member, with 32 deaths since it joined the NATO-led coalition.