BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Afghan militia soldiers and blistering airstrikes by U.S.-led coalition planes have killed eight suspected Taliban fighters in the southern mountains, an Army spokesman said Friday. Another 15 suspects were taken into custody
The deaths and captures came during a 14-hour bombing campaign Wednesday and Thursday in the Tor Ghar mountains near the town of Spinboldak, where Afghan soldiers and U.S. special forces discovered a group of about 40 suspected Taliban at a transit camp.
One Afghan militia member was killed and three others were injured in the firefight, Col. Roger King said. There were no U.S. casualties.
"Eight enemy were killed in action, and Afghan forces have taken 15 persons under control," he told reporters at Bagram Air Base, headquarters for a multinational coalition fighting terror in Afghanistan. "As far as we know they were Taliban."
In the cleanup Thursday, the soldiers also found and confiscated light machine guns, bomb-making materials, improvised explosive devices, two trucks, two motorcycles and ammunition, King said.
He said more than 35,000 pounds of ordnance were dropped or fired from five types of aircraft -- Harrier jets, B-1 bombers, A-10 Thunderbolts and helicopter gunships -- on the rebel positions.
The U.S. special forces soldiers and some 250 Afghan soldiers drove the Taliban suspects into the mountains about 25 miles north of Spinboldak, a gateway to southeastern Afghanistan.
It was the largest group of suspected Taliban that coalition forces have found in several months.
Taliban and Al Qaeda holdouts, along with allied rebels groups, are believed to have carried out frequent attacks against Afghan government forces and their supporters since the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.
Separately, the coalition's humanitarian projects board on Thursday approved 19 assistance and reconstruction projects valued at $722,000, King said. The projects include water improvement and the construction of medical clinics and schools in 10 provinces.