EIGHTY Taliban insurgents have been killed in a failed attack on a NATO combat outpost near the border with Pakistan.
“Fresh information that we received from intelligence sources shows that 80 Taliban have been killed. The bodies of the militants were left on the battlefield,” said Mukhlis Afghan, spokesman for the governor of eastern Paktika province.
NATO said earlier that 30 Taliban had been killed as international troops repelled an attack on the outpost in Barmal district, which sits on the border of Pakistan’s lawless North Waziristan tribal area.
A statement from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the insurgents launched the attack early on Saturday “from all directions” using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms fire.
Five ISAF soldiers were injured, it said, adding that they kept fighting.
“The coalition forces called for air weapons team and close-air support during the engagement. A coalition aircraft engaged an insurgent firing position with three precision-guided munitions,” it said.
“The air weapons team also engaged a large number of insurgents near the outpost,” it said, adding: “Initial operational reporting indicates more than 30 insurgents were killed in the failed attack on the outpost.”
The proximity of the combat post to the border hints at the possibility the insurgents had crossed from Pakistan, where the Taliban’s leadership council is believed to be based.
The insurgency in Afghanistan is now in its 10th year since the Taliban’s regime was overthrown in the US-led invasion in late 2001.
Remote border regions have proved particularly volatile in recent years.