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US and Afghan Troops Kill Dozens of Militants in Afghanistan

U.S. military officials say coalition and Afghan forces have killed dozens of militants in clashes throughout southern and eastern Afghanistan.

The U.S.-led coalition Saturday said more than 30 militants were killed in three days of fierce fighting in Zamto Valley, in southern Kandahar province. The coalition said its troops along with Afghan forces called in airstrikes during the clashes that began Wednesday and ended Friday.

In a separate incident, the Afghan Interior Ministry today said 23 militants were killed Friday after clashing with police in the Nad Ali district of southern Helmand province.

And, the U.S.-led coalition says its troops killed several militants in northeastern Kapisa province Friday.

Separately Saturday, an explosion hit a car carrying an Afghan official on the outskirts of the capital, Kabul, wounding the driver.

And police say two Iranians who disappeared in western Afghanistan Thursday have been kidnapped. Police today said they are trying to secure the release of the Iranian citizens, who were traveling from the western city of Herat to Islam Qala, near the Iranian border.

In other news, the controversial governor of Kandahar province, Asadullah Khalid, has been replaced. Afghan President Hamid Karzai today named General Rahmatullah Raufi to the position, in what government officials say is a routine move. While serving as governor of the restive province, Khalid was accused of corruption and torture. He denied the allegations.

Also Saturday, officials with the New York-based aid group, International Rescue Committee (IRC) said there are real ethical and operational concerns arising from the potential to confuse aid groups with foreign troops carrying out humanitarian work.

IRC official Ciaran Donnelly made the comments to reporters Saturday in Kabul, just days after four IRC aid workers were shot and killed by Taliban militants. The workers were traveling in a clearly marked convoy near the Afghan capital Wednesday when they were ambushed.

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