Taliban Said Routed Near Kandahar
NATO forces help kill 56 insurgents in 'successful airstrikes'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2008 7:21 AM CDT
US soldiers patrol through Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, June 19, 2008.    (Rahmat Gul)
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(Newser) – Yesterday's swift offensive by Afghan and NATO forces drove Taliban militants from a strategic group of villages outside southern Afghanistan's largest city and killed 56 insurgents, Afghan officials said today. The Afghan National Army has taken control of the villages, a defense ministry spokesman said, but militants had planted hundreds of land mines in the area before fleeing, the AP reports.

NATO officials did not confirm that Arghandab, a river valley 10 miles northwest of Kandahar,  was militant-free, but did say the alliance launched a "limited number of successful airstrikes" overnight, and that the joint Afghan-NATO offensive was progressing through Arghandab "methodically and successfully" and had met minimal resistance.