27 rebels killed during cleanup operation in Helmand province

Over two dozen insurgents were killed in the joint U.S.-Afghan military operation sixth day in the troubled Helmand province, commander of Afghan 205th Corps in the southern region said.

"During cleanup operation in Spin Masjid area of Gereshk district, 27 rebels have been killed today," General Shir Mohammad Zazi told Xinhua.

Huge quantity of arms and ammunition has also been captured by the troops during the operation, he contended, Xinhua reports.

The militants were killed in fighting with Afghan and NATO-led troops in Gereshk district, one of several areas in Helmand province where troops have been hunting insurgents, the Afghan army corps commander for the south said, AFP reports.

Meanwhile Analysts suspect that US and NATO troops in Helmand will continue to see mostly the backs of Taliban fighters during the ground offensive, only to have guerrillas retaliate elsewhere. And American casualties could rise given the drive to take back Taliban regions and to do so with less reliance on air power and mortars, Christian Science Monitorb reports.