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NATO Troops Kill 70 Insurgents in Afghanistan


NATO officials say Afghan and alliance troops have killed about 70 insurgents after a large group of militants attacked a military base in southern Afghanistan.

A NATO statement Sunday says up to 150 militants attacked International Security Assistance Force troops Saturday in the province of Uruzgan. ISAF troops responded with small arms fire, attack helicopters and air support in a battle that lasted several hours.

The statement says one Afghan soldier was wounded.

In another incident, officials said a roadside blast in the same province (of Uruzgan) Saturday killed a NATO soldier traveling in a military convoy.

NATO's top military commander apologized Saturday for recent civilian deaths in southern Kandahar province. But U.S. General James Jones blamed Taleban fighters for the tragedy, saying they are using civilians as human shields.

General Jones made the comments during a visit to Bagram, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan. He was referring to a NATO operation in Kandahar last Tuesday.

Officials in Afghanistan said at least 60 civilians were killed. NATO officials disputed that account, saying 12 civilians were killed and 48 insurgents died in the clashes. The alliance also said it was not clear if the civilians were killed because of Taleban or NATO action.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has appointed a commission to investigate.

Meanwhile, a rebel spokesman said Saturday the Taleban has rejected the latest offer by Mr. Karzai for peace talks.

The spokesman said there is no possibility of talks with what he called the Afghan puppet government when the country is under occupation.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP.