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Over 20 rebels killed in Paktia gunbattle

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air-wing-helicopterOver 20 militants were killed and four Afghan security forces wounded in a clash when a group of rebels stormed a security post in the Dandi Patan district of southeastern Paktia province on Saturday, an official said.

Brig. Gen. Zalmai Oryakhel, the police chief, said well-armed insurgents in a pre-dawn attack encircled the security post in Qismati area. Police repulsed the attack, killing 20 militants. Four policemen were wounded in the firefight.

Fresh Afghan National Army (ANA) and border police reinforcements were sent to the area to control the situation, he said, adding that the bodies of seven militants were still lying at the site.

Qamar Khan, an eyewitness and resident of the locality, said the gunbattle lasted several hours. He had no information about casualties but said heavy and small weapons were used by both sides.