23 Taliban militants killed in Afghanistan clashes
Afghan and foreign troops killed 23 Taliban militants in separate operations a day after the president pledged to take responsibility for security in his new five-year term, police said Saturday.
The militants were killed on Friday in clashes with Afghan and foreign forces in southern and eastern Afghanistan, the police said.
Eleven Taliban died during an operation in Zahri district in southern Kandahar province, deputy provincial police chief Fazal Ahmad Shirzad told AFP, adding the Taliban bodies were left at the scene.
In the Sanzari area of the same district, eight Taliban were killed, he said.
In eastern Kunar province Taliban claimed casualties among foreign troops after clashes in the Manogai district, but ISAF said only four militants were killed.
"Four Taliban were killed when ISAF soldiers returned fire, and there were no casualties among the troops," Sabawon Hotak, an ISAF interpreter told AFP.
The Taliban are waging a bloody insurgency against the government of President Hamid Karzai, with Afghan forces backed by more than 100,000 troops under US and Nato command.
Karzai was sworn in Thursday for a second term, pledging in his inauguration speech to bring peace to the nation and take over security in five years.
Earlier a 13-year-old Afghan forced by militants to plant a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan was killed when it exploded, the interior ministry said Saturday.
The child died while placing the improvised explosive device (IED) on a road in the Zahri district of southern Kandahar province, where Taliban influence is concentrated, the ministry said in a statement.
"A 13-year-old child, under the influence of terrorists, planted a mine under a culvert on Friday... that went off and killed the child," it said.