KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S.-led coalition aircraft and ground troops as well as Afghan forces battled suspected Taliban (search) rebels in three separate firefights in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 10 militants, the U.S. military said Thursday.
The most recent fighting occurred Thursday in Kandahar (search) province after a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol spotted a rebel observation post, a military statement said. A-10 warplanes and attack helicopters were called in, killing five suspected militants, it said.
On Wednesday in neighboring Uruzgan (search) province, coalition aircraft killed five alleged insurgents after a firefight with troops on the ground, the statement said. Two suspected guerrillas were detained.
In a separate battle Wednesday, near the border between Uruzgan and Kandahar, a B-52 bomber and A-10 aircraft bombarded an unknown number of militants after they were seen carrying weapons.
The coalition and Afghan forces suffered no casualties in any of the battles, it said.
The statement also confirmed the deaths of six alleged rebels Tuesday. Afghan officials had earlier reported the deaths in a battle in Zabul province.
The military said the six were killed after being spotted burying bombs on a roadside. A search of the area uncovered two bombs, six AK-47 assault rifles and two anti-tank mines.
On Sunday, four U.S. soldiers were killed in the region when an anti-tank mine buried under a gravel road blew up under their armored Humvee.
The military said the offensives were part of an operation called Vigilant Sentinel designed to safeguard landmark legislative elections on Sept. 18. U.S. and Afghan officials have warned that the Taliban are intent on subverting the polls and violence may increase in the next few weeks.