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12 Mine Clearing Workers Missing in Afghanistan

Twelve mine clearing workers are missing in eastern Afghanistan.

Authorities said Thursday that the workers of a local demining company disappeared while traveling through Paktia province.

The Reuters news agency quotes a Paktia official as saying insurgents abducted the 12 deminers.

In southern Afghanistan, NATO said two soldiers were killed and several others wounded by two separate bomb attacks Thursday. It gave no other details.

On Wednesday, Afghan and U.S.-led coalition troops killed more than 40 Taleban fighters during a 12-hour battle in southern Kandahar province.

The military says nearly 200 Taleban insurgents have been killed in fighting in the area in the past two weeks.

The Taleban were ousted from power in Afghanistan by a U.S.-led offensive in late 2001. However, Taleban fighters have regrouped in recent months to mount an increasingly bloody insurgency aimed at the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.