- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S.-led coalition says more than 40 insurgents have been killed in fighting over the past two days in southwestern and eastern Afghanistan.

The international coalition said on Thursday that more than 30 insurgents were killed during an ongoing operation in southwestern Helmand province. The operation in the still restive province started two days ago targeting narcotics and weapons trafficking. Opium poppies in Helmand are a main cash crop the Taliban use to fuel their insurgency.

The coalition says that in a separate incident more than 10 insurgents were killed Wednesday near a coalition base in eastern Kunar province.

NATO is expecting an increase in violence as the traditional Afghan fighting season begins with spring.

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