KABUL (AFP) — French NATO troops were involved in heavy fighting with insurgents about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday, the alliance force and military officials said.
The clash started with an attack on an International Security Assistance Force patrol Monday in Sarobi district, the ISAF media office said.
"We had a fight through the night and it is ongoing," an ISAF officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
A ISAF statement said soldiers were involved in a "significant incident with insurgents" but added that it could not yet release details.
It did not give the nationalities of the ISAF soldiers but a Western military source said on condition of anonymity that French troops were involved.
A French military official in Paris told AFP late Monday that French troops were engaged in an operation in Afghanistan but did not give the location.
"An operation is ongoing which started Monday with French soldiers in Afghanistan," he said on condition of anonymity.
Most of the 3,000 French troops in the 40-nation ISAF are in Kabul province, which includes Sarobi, and Kapisa, northeast of the capital.
The French military in Afghanistan would not comment.
The insurgent Taliban movement claimed meanwhile that it had attacked ISAF troops in Sarobi and blown up several vehicles. "We have inflicted heavy casualties," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told AFP.
The military had responded with air strikes that killed five Taliban and several civilians, he claimed. Taliban statements are not always accurate and the information could not be independently verified.
The governor of Sarobi district, Sayed Slaiman, also said there had been fighting but had few details. "We know that the enemy had casualties and they have left their dead bodies behind," he said, without being able to elaborate.
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