In a sudden new flash of violence in another American battle theater, US-led forces killed 80 Taliban fighters yesterday near a southern Afghanistan town held by insurgents. The battle erupted when Taliban troops ambushed a joint coalition and Afghan army patrol with machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Coalition forces retaliated with a six-hour ground and air strike, Reuters reports.
Such battles are rare for the Taliban, and the fight signals how deeply insurgents have dug in to defend Musa Qala, the town they hold. A Taliban town official denied any insurgents had been killed and claimed that coalition forces had dropped bombs on civilians. Violence in Afghanistan has been rising since the Taliban regrouped two years ago.