U.S. -Led Coalition Bombs Taliban Camp

U.S.-led coalition warplanes bombed a suspectedTaliban camp in southern Afghanistan, killing three insurgents, while five more militants and one policeman died in a fierce gunbattle, officials said Tuesday.

The aircraft fired two Hellfire missiles and dropped one bomb late Monday on the camp in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province, killing three Taliban militants while another fled, a military statement said.

"The people killed were responsible for launching numerous attacks against government of Afghanistan and coalition forces including financing terrorist activities," the statement said.

Separately, about 50 Taliban militants raided a police checkpoint late Monday in the nearby mountainous Miana Shien district, about 50 miles north of Kandahar, local official Shabi Khan said.

The gunfight continued into Tuesday, leaving five Taliban and one policeman dead, Khan said. Two policeman also were wounded before the militants fled on foot into the mountains.

"The ANP (Afghan National Police) forces of Miana Shien district defeated and killed five enemies, out of which two dead bodies have remained in the battlefield," an Interior Ministry statement said.

Six Afghan police and seven Taliban fighters were also wounded, but it was unclear if any of the militants were arrested, the U.S.-led military said in a statement.

Miana Shien is a Taliban stronghold where U.S. and Afghan forces killed more than 170 insurgents in fierce fighting in June 2005.

Taliban militants have stepped up attacks against Afghan and coalition forces across the country in recent months, particularly in southern regions like Kandahar and Helmand, in a bid to disrupt U.S.-led reconstruction efforts here.

More than four years since a U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime, violent attacks led by Taliban militants are increasing, causing concern for thousands of NATO troops moving into volatile southern regions to take over from American forces.