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Coalition Forces Kill 20 Suspected Taliban Rebels in Afghanistan

U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces retook a southern Afghanistan town from suspected Taliban rebels in heavy fighting that left as many as 20 rebels dead, officials said Saturday.

The coalition forces and Afghan army troops on Friday drove suspected Taliban insurgents from the Uruzgan town of Chori, where militants had pushed out security forces earlier this week, said Gen. Zahir Azimi, a Defense Ministry spokesman.

At least 15 rebels lay dead in the town after "heavy fighting," and as many as 20 may have died, he said.

The U.S. military said its troops and warplanes helped drive out fighters wielding recoilless rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

There were no casualties among the U.S. or Afghan forces and police were back in control of the area Saturday, said Sgt. Chris Miller, a coalition spokesman. He had no more details.

In other violence, suspected Taliban militants attacked a police station in southern Afghanistan, sparking clashes that left 12 militants dead and 17 people wounded, including four police, officials said Saturday.

CountryWatch: Afghanistan

Fighters hit the police compound in the northern Kandahar province town of Miana Shien with automatic rifle and machine gun fire around sundown on Friday, setting off hours of deadly fighting, said Dawood Hamadi, the provincial spokesman.

The police repulsed the attack, and the retreating militants took away their dead and wounded, said Hamadi.

He cited witness accounts for the militant casualty figures. Four police were wounded in the fighting, but none killed, he said.

In neighboring Helmand province, U.S.-led coalition warplanes bombed militants transporting munitions from a cave to a waiting truck on Friday, the military said.

The military said three precision-guided bombs were "effectively delivered" onto the militants, but there was no immediate word on militant casualties.

Also in Helmand, militants ambushed a police vehicle Saturday, wounding four police, said a top regional official, Ghulam Muniddin.

Authorities arrested 18 people afterward in connection with the hit-and-run incident, he said.

Gunmen burst into an Afghan aid worker's house in northern Baghlan province early Friday, killing the man, said Mohammad Qasim Amirzai, the province's deputy police commissioner.

The man was employed by a Bangladeshi aid agency, but his brother is a top intelligence official and the motive for the attack was unclear, Amirzai. It may have been a private matter, he said.

Surging violence in Afghanistan, especially in the south near the Pakistan border, has killed more than 400 people, mostly militants, dead since May 17.