NATO, Afghan army kill at least 13 Taliban

July 17, 2011 - 6:14 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan and NATO officials say at least 13 insurgents have been killed in eastern Afghanistan after gunbattles and a coalition airstrike against a building occupied by Taliban fighters.

Coalition spokesman Capt. Justin Brockhoff says the fighting started during an overnight operation targeting a Taliban leader in the Kuz Kunar district of Nangarhar province.

The Afghan-led force, which included coalition troops, came under fire and insurgents refused requests to come out of the building. The fighting ended Sunday after an airstrike. There were no casualties among civilians or security forces, he said.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor, says the bodies of 13 insurgents have been found so far. He says the building was an empty school.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — NATO warplanes on Sunday bombed a school in eastern Afghanistan taken over by an unknown number of Taliban fighters as Afghan troops battled with insurgents holed up inside the building, a provincial official said.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor, said Taliban fighters took control of the school, which was empty because the students are on summer break, early Sunday in the Khewa district of the eastern province. It was not immediately clear how many insurgents had occupied the school.

NATO had no immediate comment. An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw fighter jets carrying out airstrikes and attack helicopters firing in the direction of the school.

In an unrelated incident, NATO said one of its service members was killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan. It did not release a nationality or any further details.

Britain's Ministry of Defense confirmed Sunday that a British soldier had been shot dead in what Afghan officials said was an attack by a gunman in Afghan army uniform a day earlier.

The ministry said the soldier from the 9th/12th Royal Lancers was on a joint NATO-Afghan army patrol in Helmand province on Saturday when he came under small-arms fire.

"A report that the fatal gunshot was fired by an Afghan National Army soldier is now the subject of a joint International Security Assistance Force and Afghan National Security Force investigation," said Lt. Col. Tim Purbrick, a spokesman for British forces in Afghanistan.

The soldier's name was not released but his family has been informed, the ministry said.