Nato soldiers kill over 20 in gun battle

Nato said its troops have killed more than 20 insurgents in fighting that broke out after a patrol came under fire in eastern Afghanistan.The gun battle took place in the Tagab district of Kapisa province, where coalition forces called in air support after their patrol came under fire, Nato said. It claimed Taliban commanders were among the more than 20 insurgents killed.

In the southern city of Kandahar, a suicide bomber targeting a district chief killed two passers-by including a child, and wounded at least nine people, authorities said. A day earlier, at least five insurgents were killed in a three-hour fight in Tagab after sniper fire on Afghan and international forces manning a checkpoint, Nato said. The coalition did not say what nationality the international troops were, but French forces are stationed in the area.

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About 3,850 French troops are deployed in Afghanistan, mainly in Kapisa and the Surobi district north and east of Kabul. A French soldier was killed on Friday after a reconnaissance mission came under fire in the neighbouring district of Alasay in Kapisa, bringing the total number of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 51.

Separately, French authorities said a French non-commissioned officer had been killed and another soldier wounded in Tagab on Saturday. Nato said a second coalition service member died in a roadside bombing in the south. It did not release the person's nationality. Another soldier died of a non-combat injury in the north of the country on Friday, Nato said. The German military said one of its soldiers, a 21-year-old, died of a gunshot wound that appeared to be the result of an accident at a military post.