Coalition claims 136 Taliban deaths in Afghan battles

US-led coalition forces Monday said troops killed 136 Taliban fighters in several days of clashes in a remote Afghan valley, but angry locals insisted civilians were among the dead.

Coalition claims 136 Taliban deaths in Afghan battles
US-led coalition forces Monday said troops killed 136 Taliban fighters in several days of clashes in a remote Afghan valley, but angry locals insisted civilians were among the dead.

Around 300 police officers were sent to the Zerkoh Valley in Herat province to control a demonstration by local people over the deaths, police said, with protesters heard shouting "Death to America."

Earlier, the coalition said that US Special Forces, accompanied by police and other coalition members, attacked Taliban fighting positions in the valley on Sunday.

The troops used mortars, small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, it said in a statement, adding that when reinforcements arrived, coalition aircraft dropped "multiple munitions on several identified locations."

An AC-130 gunship killed 26 fighters on both sides of the valley, it said.

One demonstrator told AFP over the telephone that children had also been killed.

"The people they have killed are not Taliban, they are civilians. They have killed civilians including children," he said. "We don't want the Americans in our area."

Chants of "Death to America" could be heard in the background.

There have been several cases of civilians being killed in military action targeted at insurgents trying to bring down Afghanistan's Western-backed government.

Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2007, 15:51
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