U.S. warplanes and helicopters have carried out more bombing of suspected Taleban hideouts in the mountains of southern Afghanistan, where dozens of rebels have reportedly been killed in a week of fighting.
Hundreds of insurgents from the ousted Taleban government are reportedly hiding in the mountains of Dai Chopan region in southern Zabul province. Afghan troops have been trying to eliminate the rebels with the help of a U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition.
U.S. and allied jets and helicopter gun ships ran bombing raids Sunday, the seventh day of the offensive. Reports say the aircraft carried out several new strikes against several positions just before dawn on Sunday.
The Afghan Islamic Press, based in Pakistan, quotes a local military official as saying more than 20 Taleban fighters were killed in the latest bombing.
He told the agency that Afghan forces have sealed all escape routes for the trapped Taleban and expect them to surrender once they run out of water and food. His claim could not be confirmed independently.
A U.S. military spokesman confirmed on Saturday that at least 33 rebels were killed during the first three days of fighting.
In addition, U.S. officials say three soldiers fighting in the anti-Taleban coalition force were injured Sunday in fighting in eastern Afghanistan. Several militants were reported killed in the battle, in Paktika province.
Members of the Taleban and the al-Qaida terrorist network have been waging a guerrilla war against the internationally backed government of President Hamid Karzai. The insurgents have increased their attacks in recent weeks, killing dozens of people.
The U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition is hunting down these militants across war-ravaged Afghanistan, while a separate multinational force headed by NATO is maintaining security in the capital, Kabul.
Afghan officials also say that a grenade was thrown at the Indian consulate in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. The police say no one was injured in the explosion, which occurred late Saturday.