KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – U.S. special forces troops and hundreds of soldiers loyal to two provincial governments battled Taliban holdouts in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing four Taliban and capturing six, an Afghan official said Saturday.
Uruzgan province Gov. Haji Jan Mohammed told The Associated Press he sent at least 400 soldiers to the fighting in Sangisakh Shaila, 50 miles north of the southern city of Kandahar. U.S. special forces commandos also were involved.
"The Taliban are using heavy weapons and we are trying to either kill or arrest them," Mohammed said.
Another 600 soldiers from neighboring Kandahar province were sent to the battle area, said provincial police official Shafiullah, who, like many Afghans, uses only one name.
The U.S. military said unidentified assailants opened fire on a small group of American soldiers Saturday morning near Khakrez, 27 miles northwest of Kandahar.
It was unclear whether the incidents in Sangisakh Shaila and Khakrez were related.
"The U.S. special forces were engaged; they attempted to break contact and called in air support," the U.S. military said in a statement from its headquarters at Bagram Air Base, north of the capital.
"The air support consisted of two Apache helicopters which were engaged by enemy ground fire. They returned fire."
Coalition F-16 fighter jets rushed to Khakrez and dropped two GBU-12 bombs, the statement said. No coalition casualties were reported.
Many Taliban are believed to be hiding in southern Afghanistan since they were ousted by U.S.-led bombardment after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.