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Battle in Afghanistan Leaves 55 Insurgents, NATO Soldier Dead


NATO says 55 insurgents and one NATO soldier were killed in a battle Monday in southern Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the alliance, Major Luke Knitting, says NATO-led troops fought for almost six hours in Zabul province. He says the battle in the Dychopan district of Zabul also wounded another 20 militants.

The nationality of the NATO soldier has not been revealed.

Monday's clash follows another major fight between the international security forces and insurgents in neighboring Uruzgan province. Afghan forces and international troops, aided by war planes, killed at least 70 insurgent in the fight on Saturday.

The NATO spokesman said the troops are moving into these regions to pave the way for reconstruction and development.

Meanwhile, the outgoing commander of NATO troops in southern Afghanistan, David Fraser, said Taleban forces can be expected to continue indiscriminate attacks in Afghanistan.

Brigadier-General David Fraser says the Taleban respect nobody, so troops, journalists, Red Cross workers, U.N. personnel, and ordinary Afghans are all "equal targets of opportunity" for them.

Fraser said, despite the attacks, allied forces are making progress in providing security in the region.

He urged the international community to make a 100 percent commitment to secure a safe environment for the Afghan people.

Fraser hands over command in southern Afghanistan to Dutch Major-General Ton Van Loon on Wednesday.

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