Belfast Telegraph

Militants killed in airport battle

Eight militants were killed in a gun battle after a suicide car bombing at the entrance to an airport outside the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, airport authorities said.

A group of militants, using light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, battled international forces for 30 minutes, according to the media office at the airport.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed six suicide attackers killed 32 foreign and Afghan security forces at the airport, about 78 miles east of the Afghan capital.

Ghafor Khan, a spokesman for the provincial police chief in Nangarhar province, said international forces blocked access to the area. The airport is situated on a main road on the outskirts of the city that leads to the Pakistani border.

NATO said there had been an incident at the airport, but said it could not immediately provide details.

Elsewhere in the east, US and Afghan forces battled hundreds of militants from an al Qaida-linked group for a third day on Tuesday in Kunar province, the US military said. Two US soldiers were killed in the first day of the operation on Sunday.

The attack in Kunar was directed against insurgents believed responsible for the roadside bombing that killed five American service members in the area on June 7, a US statement said.

The militants were believed to be members of the Haqqani group, a faction of the Taliban based in Pakistan that has close ties to al Qaida. About 600 US and Afghan troops are taking part in the operation, the US statement said.

On Tuesday in Kabul, an Afghan man working for the United Nations was shot and killed in his vehicle.

The Afghan UN employee who died was driving a white pick-up truck with the blue UN logo painted on the side. Another Afghan member of the UN staff, who was in the vehicle, was unhurt, the UN said.

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