Afghanistan:12 militants killed by coalition troops

The soldiers and militants fought for four hours in the Musa Qala district of the volatile Helmand province, coalition spokesman Maj. Quentin Innis said. Twelve militants were killed and there were no coalition casualties.

The nationalities of the soldiers were not immediately released, but British and U.S. soldiers are operating in Helmand, a hotbed of Taliban-led insurgent activity.

Taliban militants have stepped up attacks again Afghan and coalition forces the last several months, particularly in the southern provinces. The U.S.-led coalition is waging its largest offensive in Afghanistan since the Taliban's 2001 ouster in an effort to crush militants in the south.

Late Wednesday, suspected Taliban militants also ambushed an Afghan police patrol in Helmand's Nad Ali district, sparking a firefight that left three fighters dead, provincial police chief Ghulam Nabi Malakhail said. One policeman was also wounded.

Elsewhere in Helmand, Taliban forces engaged a coalition convoy Wednesday, wounding one coalition soldier and damaging a vehicle, said military spokesman Maj. Quentin Innis. Coalition aircraft fired on Taliban positions, but no assessment had been made of Taliban losses.

Another coalition vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the southern Zabul province, slightly wounding two soldiers, Innis said. The nationalities of the soldiers were not immediately released, the AP reports.

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