100 Taliban ultras killed in Afghanistan

Eight South Korean hostages, including seven women, released as part of deal

Kabul, August 29:

Over 100 militants have been killed by Afghan and the US-led coalition forces in Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan, a military statement said today. The Taliban insurgents were killed during clashes with military forces in Sha Wali Kot district in northern Kandahar yesterday and continued through the evening, the statement said.

The clashes broke out when an Afghan and coalition patrol was attacked by a large group of militants from reinforced fighting positions.

The joint forces used small arms and crew-served weapons to repel the attack while calling for close air support, which destroyed the enemy hilltop positions, the reinforced emplacements, sniper positions and two trucks.

One Afghan soldier was killed in the battle, while three coalition and three Afghan soldiers were injured, the statement said.

About 13,000 coalition soldiers and 37,000 NATO troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan. Over 4,100 people, mostly Taliban guerrillas, have lost their lives in rising violence in Afghanistan this year.

Meanwhile, a report from Qala-e-Kazi said Taliban militants released eight South Korean hostages today, the first of 19 captives scheduled to be freed under a deal struck between the insurgents and the South Korean government.

The hostages were released into the care of officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross at two separate locations in central Afghanistan close to the city of Ghazni, an Associated Press reporter said.

The first group of three women were released in the village of Qala-e-Kazi. Several hours later, four women and one man were released in a desert close to Shah Baz, said the reporter, who witnessed both hand-overs.