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U.S. steps up Afghan air strikes -report
Cat : Afghanistan
Date : 2006-06-19 10:09:42                      Reader : 238

REUTERS 19/6/2006

U.S. steps up Afghan air strikes -report


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has carried out 340 air strikes in Afghanistan over the past three months, more than double the 160 conducted in Iraq, as fighting with Taliban insurgents intensifies, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Citing figures from the U.S. military headquarters in the Middle East, the Post said the air strikes had increased in recent days as the military launched counter-offensives against Islamic militants in the country’s south and southeast.

The report quoted U.S. military officials as saying the activity was in response to increasing aggression by the Taliban, which was ousted from power by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001 following the September 11 attacks.

The U.S.-led coalition has announced a major offensive against the Taliban in their southern heartland ahead of handing over the region to NATO troops to allow a reduction in U.S. forces in the country.

Almost 40 foreign soldiers have been killed in combat in Afghanistan this year, nearly 30 of them Americans, in the worst upsurge of violence since 2001.

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