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Taleban Commander, 15 Militants Killed in Afghanistan


Coalition officials in Afghanistan say a U.S.-led airstrike in central Uruzgan province has killed a Taleban commander and 15 other militants. A coalition statement Saturday did not identify the Taleban commander killed in Friday's air strike.

The violence came as General John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command, and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende visited the country to assess operations.

General Abizaid told reporters at the main U.S. military base at Bagram that insurgents are still using neighboring Pakistan as a base for infiltrations. But he completely rejected any suggestion that Islamabad is colluding with the rebels.

Canadian soldiers have shot and killed a plainclothes Afghan policeman and wounded at least four others in southern Afghanistan.

The incident happened just west of Kandahar city Saturday.

A spokesman for the NATO-led forces says the soldiers mistakenly opened fire on an unmarked vehicle carrying plainclothes Afghan police. They say the shots were fired when the vehicle failed to respond to orders to stop.

No NATO troops were hurt.

In a separate incident at the same checkpoint Saturday a civilian on a motorbike was wounded by gunfire after failing to heed warnings to stop.

Also Saturday, coalition sources released the nationalities of two soldiers killed Friday in an ambush in eastern Afghanistan.

The two French soldiers died when a roadside bomb exploded during a combat patrol in eastern Laghman province. The blast was followed by an ambush of what military officials called "enemy extremists."

Also Saturday, coalition officials said their forces killed a Taleban commander and 15 other militants in a battle in southern Uruzgan province on Friday.

Meanwhile, Afghan president Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation into a U.S.-led attack in Kunar province that killed at least eight people Thursday. Local authorities say the dead were civilians. U.S. officials say the target was an al-Qaida hideout.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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