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Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill Taliban Commander

Afghan and coalition military forces say they have killed a key Taliban commander with an airstrike in western Afghanistan, near the Turkmenistan border.

A joint military statement Monday said the airstrike in Darya-ye-Morghab in Badghis province late Sunday killed Taliban regional commander Ghulam Dastagir and eight of his associates, when it destroyed the building where they had gathered.

Afghan and coalition officials blame Dastagir for an increase in attacks on Afghan and foreign forces in Badghis over recent months. Local officials say he had been captured but was released from detention several months ago by presidential order.

Elsewhere, officials say a series of militant attacks in the country killed at least eight civilians and a NATO soldier.

In the east of the country, the Interior Ministry said Monday three civilians were killed when a roadside bomb ripped through their vehicle in Kunar province. Another roadside bomb killed five civilians in southern Afghanistan's Uruzgan province.

In eastern Afghanistan, NATO said one of its soldiers was killed in an indirect fire attack in eastern Afghanistan.

Further to the east, an official with a NATO-led force told the Reuters news agency that a rocket attack on their base killed one coalition soldier on Monday. A Taliban spokesman said 11 American soldiers were killed in the attack in Paktika province.

Taliban insurgents also claimed to have killed two alleged spies for U.S. troops in Wardak province, south of Kabul. A new force of nearly 3,000 U.S. soldiers who arrived in Wardak and Logar province last month have reported clashes with Taliban militants.

Also Monday, Tajik security officials said border guards killed six suspected Afghan drug smugglers who crossed into Tajikistan with a shipment of drugs.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.