Afghan and NATO forces have launched a joint offensive against Taliban fighters and their strongholds in southern Afghanistan. The operation is taking place in several villages in the Arghandab region just north of Kandahar. There are unconfirmed reports that several dozen insurgents and at least two Afghan army officers have been killed.
The operation comes five days after around 350 jailed militants escaped in an attack on the main prison in Kandahar. Checkpoints have been set up and a night-time curfew imposed. Military officials say they expect the offensive to continue for at least three days, but add that the numbers of Taliban insurgents have been overestimated.
Meanwhile, two NATO soldiers were killed and ten others wounded in the south-eastern province of Paktika. Their nationality is not known. Earlier, the UK government announced the loss of four British soldiers in a roadside bomb. The victims included the first female soldier to die on active service in Afghanistan.