U.S. led coalition forces in Afghanistan killed 22 Taliban fighters including two commanders Tuesday in a string of operations across the east and south of the country following U.S. military controlled explosions which spread alarm in Kabul.
In two separate raids, one Taliban commander was killed in southern Kandahar province and two more insurgents were killed in neighboring Zabul province, the U.S. military said.
The military did not say whether there were any casualties among the foreign troops. The Taliban could not be reached for comment and Reuters was unable to verify the military's accounts.
Eighteen fighters and a Taliban commander, Mullah Patang, were killed on Monday in the deadliest single operation at Kapisa, in the Tagab Valley, around 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Kabul, said a spokesman, adding that ground troops called in air strikes during the raid.
Coalition troops detained eight suspected militants during the operation, it said.
Removed from power in a U.S.-led invasion in 2001, the Taliban have made a comeback since 2005, escalating their campaign in recent months with several high-profile attacks, including in Kabul.
U.S.-led forces accused Patang of being responsible for numerous attacks on civilians and coalition forces, and acting on orders from senior Taliban leaders in Afghanistan and abroad.
Around 70,000 international troops are fighting Islamists linked to the insurgent Taliban movement, which was toppled from power in Afghanistan by the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.
The attacks followed a series of controlled military explosions which happened shortly before and while President Karzai began a speech to open the fourth session of the Afghan parliament in Kabul.
The blasts were heard in east Kabul, and a U.S. forces spokeswoman said there were two controlled explosions, carried-out at an Afghan National Army training centre.
"They did it in two explosions, rather than one large one, so not to cause too much alarm," the spokeswoman said.
The training facility is overseen by Combined Transition Security Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A), a U.S. military unit that trains the Afghan army.
The Afghan army is due to be expanded to 134,000 troops by 2012 and is expected to eventually take over Afghanistan security duties from NATO-led forces, which are battling virulent Taliban fighters in south and east Afghanistan.
Karzai criticizes foreign troops
Afghan President Hamid Karzai criticized foreign troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday in parliament, saying the killing of civilians by foreign troops was a main source of instability in Afghanistan.
Karzai also urged the West to review its strategy in fighting the Taliban and delivering aid.
"This persecutes us," Karzai said of the killings. "Our international friends should know that it is a physical and mental obsession," he told the annual opening of parliament.
Karzai, facing elections due in September, has hit back denouncing the repeated accidental killing of Afghan civilians in air strikes by U.S. and NATO forces.