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British Soldiers Carry Out Major Taliban Assault in Afghanistan


British soldiers in Afghanistan say they have staged a major air assault on a Taliban stronghold in the southern Helmand province.

Afghanistan's NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) says hundreds of troops parachuted into a town north of Lashkar Gah. ISAF says the more than 500 British troops involved in the operation repulsed insurgent counterattacks and killed several militants.

An ISAF spokesman tells VOA the goal of the operation is to secure river and canal crossings in order to establish a permanent ISAF presence in the area. Commanders plan to hand over the territory to Afghan police within the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, at least 22 people have been killed in other attacks around Afghanistan.

Authorities say a roadside bomb in northern Jowzjan province killed three Afghan employees of a non-profit group working with the United Nations, called the Development and Humanitarian Services for Afghanistan. The employees were on the way to a shelter project site.

Germany's Defense Ministry says three German soldiers were killed in a firefight with insurgents near the northern city of Kunduz.

A provincial police chief says three police officers died in a blast near the Kandahar.

In central Afghanistan, officials say a suicide bomber killed two Afghan civilians in an attack on a convoy of international troops.

The violence has occurred as U.S. National Security Adviser General James Jones visits Afghanistan to follow up on a U.S. government plan to help stabilize Afghanistan ahead of the country's August presidential elections. Jones has met with U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, who is the new head of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of 21,000 more troops and trainers to Afghanistan to fight the worsening Taliban insurgency and help with reconstruction.

Despite the arrival of more foreign troops, violence in the past year has risen to the highest levels since the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.

Meanwhile, Afghan defense officials say two Afghan soldiers and nine militants were killed Monday in a clash in the southwestern province of Farah.




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

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