- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

KABUL (AP) - Afghan and international forces killed 33 militants in two days of clashes in Afghanistan, U.S. forces said Friday.

Afghan army and U.S.-coalition troops killed 30 militants in a firefight in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, the U.S. said in a statement released late that night.

The troops were patrolling in a militant-heavy area of Helmand province’s Gereshk district when they started receiving gunfire and returned fire, the U.S. said. One Afghan soldier was injured during the operation, the statement said.

On Friday, Afghan and coalition forces killed three militants in eastern Logar province when fighting broke out during a raid targeting a bomb-making cell, a separate U.S. statement said.

One militant was captured in the incident in Logar’s Baraki Barak district, the U.S. said.

The fighting follows the death Thursday of an Australian service member in southern Oruzgan province, NATO forces said. The bomb disposal expert died while trying to defuse a makeshift device. It was Australia’s second death in the Central Asian country in a week.

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