Coalition Forces Kill 40 Taliban in Afghan Raid

Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces killed more than 40 suspected Taliban militants in raid on a compound in southern Afghanistan on Monday, a coalition spokesman said.

One Afghan army soldier was killed and three coalition troops wounded in the fighting near Tarin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province, 110 miles north of Kandahar, said Sgt. Chris Miller.

The coalition soldiers were in stable condition, he said, declining to give their identities or nationalities. It wasn't immediately clear if there had been airstrikes and if the coalition had recovered the bodies of the dead militants.

The fighting follows heavy clashes in neighboring Kandahar province over the weekend that killed at least 19 militants and a Canadian coalition soldier.

CountryWatch: Afghanistan

During recent months, the south has been gripped by the bloodiest spate of violence since a U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

Taliban militants have launched a wave of suicide attacks, bombings and brazen assaults on security forces in the hard-line militia's heartland, drawing a fierce response from thousands of Afghan and coalition forces.

More than 700 people, mostly militants, have died in the violence since mid-May, according to Afghan and coalition casualty figures tallied by The Associated Press.

Next month, NATO is set to take over command of the international security forces in the south from the U.S.-led coalition. Canadian, British and Dutch troops are deploying in the region.

President Hamid Karzai on Sunday summoned a meeting of a special committee set up last month to address urgent security and reconstruction issues, a statement from his office said. The committee includes senior Afghan officials and representatives from the U.S.-led coalition, NATO and the United Nations.

The statement blamed the current insecurity and "regular acts of terrorism" on a "variety of groups including those linked to international terrorist networks, fighters recruited from outside of Afghanistan and the opium industry."

On Sunday night, suspected Taliban militants ambushed an Afghan army convoy in Shinkay district of southern Zabul province, wounding one soldier. Two militants were arrested after a 20-minute gunbattle and the army was hunting for more rebel fighters, said Mohammed Raziq Khan, the army commander for the province.

Also in Shinkay, a roadside bomb seriously wounded two Afghan police late Sunday on the main highway leading to the provincial capital, he said.