Hundreds of Taliban killed in battle
ARGHANDAB DISTRICT, Afghanistan -- Hundreds of Taliban fighters have been killed or wounded after two days of fierce fighting over a strategic area just northwest of Kandahar City that insurgents had taken over at the start of the week.
By Thursday, all that remained was the mopping up of small scattered pockets of resistance, jubilant political leaders and Afghan and Canadian military commanders told reporters from a mountainside perch overlooking the entire battlefield in a wide river valley.
"This will give them a good lesson," Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid said, referring to Taliban insurgents. Mr. Khalid said residents who had fled the area when Taliban infiltrated from the mountains to the north will be allowed to return in the days ahead.
First, though, Afghan authorities have to clear out landmines and roadside bombs planted by the insurgents, and fix destroyed bridges and culverts, he said. Residents are clamouring to get back after the fighting interrupted the important harvest period in the agriculturally rich valley, and some farmers have already been passing through checkpoints to get back to their crops and livestock.
Military officials did not want to divulge any numbers. Mr. Khalid, however, said there were no civilians deaths, but two Afghan National Army soldiers died.