KABUL, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Afghan forces backed by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have eliminated 31 Taliban militants during operations and airstrikes and captured the Taliban shadow district governor in Taliban stronghold Helmand province, a spokesman of the ISAF said on Thursday.
"Afghan and international security forces captured the Taliban district chief of Now Zad district and killed at least 31 insurgents during an operation in remote Baghran district in northern Helmand province last night," Brigadier-General Josef Blotz told a press conference.
Throughout the four-hour firefight, insurgents attempted to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against the security forces, he said, adding "Precision air fire was used to suppress the attacks."
After the joint troops secured the area, they administered medical aid to several wounded insurgents including the Taliban district chief, he said, adding the wounded persons were evacuated along with several captured insurgents.
No civilians or Afghan and international service members were killed or wounded, he said.
According to Gen. Blotz dozens of automatic weapons, Rocket- propelled grenades, a machine gun and hand grenades were discovered along with 20 pound of wet opium.
"The combined force destroyed the drugs and weapons at the scene," he emphasized.
Taliban militants, who have intensified their assaults against the Afghan and NATO-led troops stationed in Afghanistan, have yet to make comments.