Militants killed after Afghan airport bombing

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The Independent Online

Eight militants were killed today in a gun battle after a suicide car bombing at the entrance to an Afghan airport, authorities said.

After the car bombing, a group of militants, using light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, battled international forces for 30 minutes, according to information provided by the media office at the airport outside the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed six suicide attackers killed 32 foreign and Afghan security forces at the airport, about 78 miles east of the Afghan capital. The militant group frequently exaggerates its claims.

Ghafor Khan, a spokesman for the provincial police chief in Nangarhar province, said that during the fighting, international forces blocked access to the area and helicopters patrolled overhead. The airport is on a main road on the outskirts of the city that leads to the Pakistani border.

Nato said there had been an incident at the airport, but said it could not immediately provide details.

Elsewhere in the east, US and Afghan forces battled hundreds of militants from an al-Qa'ida-linked group for a third day yesterday in Kunar province, the US military said. Two US soldiers were killed on Sunday in the first day of the operation.

The attack in Kunar was directed against insurgents believed responsible for the roadside bombing that killed five American service members in the area on June 7, a US statement said.

The militants were believed to be members of the Haqqani group, a faction of the Taliban based in Pakistan that has close ties to al-Qa'ida. About 600 US and Afghan troops are taking part in the operation, the US statement said.

On Tuesday in Kabul, an Afghan man working for the United Nations was shot and killed in his vehicle near a busy traffic island.

He was driving a pick-up truck with the blue UN logo painted on the side. Another Afghan member of the UN staff, who was in the vehicle, was not wounded, the UN said.

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