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More Taliban Killed In Afghanistan

Coalition forces attacked Taliban militant camps in southern Afghanistan, killing about 45 insurgents, coalition officials said Saturday.

Meanwhile, coalition officials said Saturday that two coalition soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan while on security sweep through the area.

The soldiers were conducting operations Friday in Asadabad district in Kunar province when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the road, a military statement said.

The military did not release the nationalities of the soldiers killed.

On Friday, Afghan and coalition forces surrounded a "known enemy camp" in Khod Valley, Shaheed Hasas district of Uruzgan province, killing an estimated 40 fighters, the military said in a statement.

"Coalition forces tracked the development of this meeting until there were more than 50 extremists gathered before attacking the compound," said military spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick. "The compound was severely damaged, and we anticipate most of those present were killed."

In a separate incident, Afghan and coalition forces conducted a raid on a Taliban compound near Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan, killing five insurgents, the military said. They also seized about eight pounds of opium.

The combat operations were part of Operation Mountain Thrust, the largest anti-Taliban military campaign undertaken since the former regime's 2001 ouster in an American-led invasion.

More than 10,000 U.S.-led troops were deployed this week across southern Afghanistan to quell a Taliban resurgence and prepare the ground for the imminent takeover of military control by NATO-led forces.

Earlier this week, coalition forces said they killed an estimated 40 militants in a remote, mountainous area of southeastern Paktika province in operations in support of Mountain Thrust. One coalition member was wounded in that operation.

U.S., Canadian, British and Afghan troops have fanned out over four restive provinces — Helmand, Uruzgan, Kandahar and Zabul — to hunt down Taliban fighters blamed for the surge in ambushes and bombings. It is the largest offensive since the 2001 invasion that toppled the Taliban regime.

Extremist forces, primarily Taliban, have been stepping up attacks against coalition and Afghan troops across the country, particularly the south, in the bloodiest campaign of violence launched since 2001. More than 500 people, mostly militants, have been killed in the past month.

"It's a sign of the fact that the Taliban have never gone away," says CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan. "They were heavily defeated, but they stayed in the area, and they will always come back year after year."

As of June 16, 2006, at least 238 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department.

Of those, the military reports 147 were killed by hostile action.

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