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NATO,  Afghan Forces Retake Taliban Stronghold


NATO and Afghan forces are in the process of retaking a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan after days of fighting.

A Taliban spokesman confirmed Monday that militants have retreated from the town of Musa Qala in Helmand province.

Troops surrounded Musa Qala last week. NATO officials said Afghan troops entered the town on Monday. Several militants were killed in an airstrike on a Taliban weapons' supplier.

Taliban militants overran Musa Qala in February after British troops withdrew and handed over security responsibilities to local elders.

More than 6,000 Afghan and NATO soldiers are part of the operation to restore civilian government to the town.

Also Monday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made his first trip to Afghanistan, where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Brown visited troops at the main British military base in violent Helmand province, where he thanked them for their sacrifice.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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