16 insurgents killed in Afghanistan

KABUL: Afghan and US forces killed 16 insurgents on Sunday in an operation in the east of the country, also arresting a suspected Al-Qaeda fighter, NATO and Afghan police said.

The overnight operation took place in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan's tribal regions, considered a hiding place for Islamist militants.

"Today a joint security force killed more than a dozen militants and detained a suspected militant after searching a mountainside compound in Kunar province known to be used by an Al-Qaeda commander," NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

"During the search of the compound located near Tantil village, northeast of Jalalabad, the force received hostile enemy fire on two occasions and returned fire, killing the enemy militants.

"The joint force also found a number of rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, multiple AK-47 rifles and other grenades. All items were destroyed in place," the statement added.

An ISAF spokesman specified that 16 people were killed and there were no civilian casualties. Kunar's police chief, Khalilullah Ziayi, said: "Sixteen people were killed. All of them were Taliban."

However, in the village of Tantil, residents Asghar and Sayed Hassan insisted that those killed were civilians, among them an 80-year-old man, as well as nine members of one family. This claim could not be confirmed by official sources.

Kunar is known for high levels of insurgent attacks and as a centre of operations by the powerful Haqqani insurgent group, named after Jalaluddin Haqqani, which cut its teeth resisting Soviet rule in the 1980s.