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Afghan, Coalition Forces Target Taliban Fighters' Southern Strongholds

Afghan and coalition forces have killed at least 48 suspected militants in two operations in southern Afghanistan.

An Afghan army general, Sher Mohammad Zazai, said Wednesday that 23 suspected Taliban fighters had been killed after Afghan and coalition forces stormed a Taliban stronghold near the capital of Uruzgan province. The general said regional Taliban commander Mullah Ismail was among the militants killed in the assault.

In neighboring Helmand province, Afghan officials said troops killed at least 25 suspected militants. The Taliban-dominated province is where more than 500 British soldiers began carrying out a major air assault on a Taliban stronghold late last week.

Meanwhile, Afghan officials said at least seven civilians were killed in a roadside bombing in Helmand province.

In southern Zabul province, local officials said two Afghan intelligence officers and four alleged Taliban fighters were killed Tuesday in separate incidents.

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