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Two Coalition Soldiers, 32 Insurgents Dead in Afghanistan


Fierce fighting between U.S.-led troops and Taleban insurgents in southern Afghanistan has left an American and a Canadian soldier dead along with 32 insurgents.

The U.S. military says the battle, which also wounded four coalition troops and an Afghan soldier, erupted after an early morning attack by militants on a coalition base in Helmand province.

A military statement says coalition forces killed 12 militants in the initial attack, while the rest were killed by U.S.-led forces backed by aircraft as they tried to flee.

The coalition forces also destroyed two Taleban headquarters during several hours of fighting and destroyed a large cache of bombmaking material and ammunition.

Violence has escalated in Afghanistan since the Taleban vowed to wage a major spring offensive against foreign and Afghan troops.

Helmand is Afghanistan's largest grower of opium poppies. It has been hit hard by a Taleban insurgency against foreign forces and the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taleban in late 2001 when they refused to hand over Osama bin Laden following the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States.

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