U.S. forces arrest 11 suspected militants in Afganistan

Coalition forces backed by attack aircraft swept a valley in eastern Afghanistan on Monday and detained 11 suspected militants believed responsible for a bombing that killed four American troops, the U.S. military said.

The bomb attack Sunday in the Pech Valley of Kunar province was the deadliest against U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a month. Also Sunday, two suicide attackers in a car narrowly missed the chief of Afghanistan's upper house of parliament in Kabul but killed themselves and two bystanders.

The bombings were the latest in a drumbeat of militant attacks that appear to be gathering intensity, four years after the ouster of the hard-line Taliban regime by U.S.-led forces.

The U.S. military said in a statement that its marines and soldiers backed by artillery, attack helicopters and AC-130 gunship planes swept the Pech valley after encountering small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from militants.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan, chief of police in Kunar province, said Afghan police and American troops had searched mountains near Sunday's attack in which a homemade explosive hit a U.S. armored vehicle driving in a convoy. That road remained blocked to normal traffic, he said.

"The coalition's response has resulted in the detention of 11 insurgents believed responsible" for Sunday's attack, the U.S. statement said, without identifying the detainees.

Sunday's bombing raised to 220 the death toll of U.S. personnel in and around Afghanistan since late 2001 when U.S.-led forces ousted the hardline Taliban regime for hosting al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, reports the AP.

I.L.