WASHINGTON, March 18: Elite US troops killed 16 people on Sunday in an attack on a convoy US officials claimed was carrying Al Qaeda guerillas in eastern Afghanistan.

“We don’t have a lot of details yet, but 16 were killed, one was wounded and one captured.

No American troops were injured,” one official said, adding that the ground attack took place about 70kms southwest of Gardez.

Other defence officials said US army special forces troops conducted the attack on a convoy of three or four vehicles which were believed to be carrying fighters who took part in “Operation Anaconda” around Gardez.

The officials spoke as

US, Afghan and Western coalition forces were winding up Operation Anaconda, the biggest battle of the Afghan war.

The operation began early this month in the region around Gardez and killed hundreds of regrouping Al Qaeda and Taliban troops in an area peppered with caves. At least eight US servicemen and seven allied Afghan soldiers were also killed in the fighting.

One official said one of the four vehicles travelling with the convoy was found to be carrying “innocent people” and was not attacked.

The officials also did not say whether all of those killed were men.—Reuters

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