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US Forces Kill 3 in New Operation to Hunt Down Militants in Afghanistan - 2004-03-15

U.S. military officials in Afghanistan say American troops, including special operations forces, have killed three militants and detained 13 others as part of a new operation to hunt down al-Qaida and Taleban fighters.

A military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Hilferty, told reporters Monday in Kabul that three militants were shot dead and five captured Saturday during a gun battle after coalition forces surprised the fighters at a cave hideout in southeastern Zabul province.

He said eight more militants were detained Sunday in the same area near the provincial capital, Qalat, and were found with what he called anti-coalition propaganda. The spokesman said no coalition forces were hurt.

Last week, U.S. troops began a operation called "Mountain Storm" aimed at hunting down members of the ousted Taleban government and members of al-Qaida, including its leader, Osama bin Laden

On Sunday, international peace-keepers and Afghan police said three rockets hit the eastern city of Jalalabad, wounding at least one person.

The previous night, officials said two rockets fell on the capital, Kabul, but only one exploded, causing no casualties.

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