NATO, Afghan forces kill 13 insurgents

By AMIR SHAH | October 14, 2011 | 5:40 AM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — NATO and Afghan forces killed 13 insurgents in an overnight operation targeting local Taliban leaders in northern Afghanistan, officials said Friday.

The joint raid by coalition and Afghan troops in northern Faryab province began late Thursday, said Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for Afghan police in the north. One police officer was killed in the operation, he said.

NATO said in a statement that the forces were searching for Taliban leaders in Ghormach and Qaisar districts. The coalition did not say whether any of the insurgents targeted in the raid were captured or killed.

Northern Afghanistan has become increasingly violent over the past year as insurgents facing pressure from NATO troops in their southern strongholds have pushed into pockets in the north.

In eastern Kunar province, meanwhile, at least five artillery shells fired from the Pakistani side of the border landed in Dangam district early Friday, said provincial Police Chief Ewaz Naziri. There were no casualties.

Tensions have been rising along Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan in recent weeks as Afghan officials have decried shelling from Pakistani territory that has killed an unknown number of civilians, displaced hundreds of people and destroyed several homes and mosques.

Pakistani officials have said previously that the artillery fire was not intentional and said they regretted the killings and damage.

NATO also reported the death of an international service member in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan on Thursday. The international military coalition did not provide further details. NATO typically waits for national authorities to release specifics about their casualties.

It was the ninth international military death since the beginning of October. So far this year, at least 462 international troops have been killed in Afghanistan.