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US Forces Seize Taleban Suspects in Afghanistan - 2004-02-16


U.S. forces in Afghanistan have captured more than 40 suspected militants, including two mid-level Taleban leaders, during a raid in the country's southeastern Helmand province.

Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Hilferty, a U.S. military spokesman, said Monday that the two suspected Taleban leaders are believed to have been involved in recent violence in the area. He did not give details.

Local reports say the two suspects have ties to a top Taleban commander, Mullah Dadullah.

The American spokesman says no shots were fired and no one was injured during the raid, which was the result of a tip.

Thousands of U.S.-led troops have been hunting for Taleban members in southern Afghanistan as part of "Operation Mountain Blizzard," which was launched last month.

More than two years after U.S. forces toppled the Taleban regime in Afghanistan, loyalist fighters and remnants of the al-Qaida terrorist network are still active in southern and southeastern provinces.

Last week, insurgents' attacks killed at least three people in southern Afghanistan. Those incidents included a land-mine explosion near the city of Ghazni that killed an American soldier and wounded nine other people.

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

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