NATO says 2 service members killed, clash leaves 30 insurgents dead in eastern Afghanistan

By Eric Talmadge, AP
Saturday, September 25, 2010

NATO: Bomb blast kills 2 troops, 30 militants die

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two NATO service members were killed by an improvised explosive device and more than 30 insurgents died in a clash with coalition troops in eastern Afghanistan, the military alliance said Saturday.

NATO also said it captured an insurgent commander linked to attacks on Afghan officials and violence during last weekend’s parliamentary elections, and killed another.

In a statement Saturday, NATO said the two service members were killed by a bomb blast in the east, but did not provide further details. The nationalities of NATO casualties are not generally released until after next of kin are notified.

Also in the east, more than 30 insurgents were killed during an operation involving a combined force of about 250 Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and coalition soldiers in Alishing district of Laghman province. No civilians were harmed during the operation, NATO said.

Afghan and coalition security forces detained several insurgents in Khost province, along the Pakistan border, Friday, including a Haqqani commander linked to attacks against Afghan officials. NATO said the commander was also involved in ambushing a vehicle during last week’s elections and stealing a ballot box.

The Haqqani network is a Pakistan-based faction of the Taliban with close ties to al-Qaida.

The arrests led to the seizure of bomb-making material and military equipment, including an automatic weapon, pistol, rocket-propelled grenade launcher, magazines and loose ammunition — along with three U.S. combat uniforms similar to those recently used in attacks against a coalition base.

An airstrike killed a Taliban commander who helped conduct improvised explosive device attacks and was directly linked to last week’s election violence, NATO said.

Election day on Sept. 18 was marred by rocket attacks and bombings at polling stations in volatile areas. At least 21 civilians and nine police officers were killed during the voting, according to the election commission and Interior Ministry.

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