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A series of clashes this weekend in Afghanistan left at least four suspected Taliban fighters and two Afghan soldiers dead, officials said Monday, after predictions that warmer weather will bring more action.

In one incident, as many as 60 suspected Taliban fighters attacked government offices in southern Afghanistan, sparking an hourlong gunbattle.

In another, a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol near the village of Deh Rawod was attacked, resulting in at least two U.S. soldiers being wounded, The Associated Press reported.

According to the U.S. military command at Bagram, U.S. and Afghan forces engaged in a pair of gunbattles in Paktika province late last week. Four insurgents were reported killed, along with two Afghan soldiers.

After observing 20 armed men near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the patrol “engaged the individuals with small arms and called in artillery fire and U.S. Air Force A-10 close air support,” a Combined Forces Command press release said.

“The government of Afghanistan continues to offer the insurgents a means by which they can stop the fighting and come together to forge a brighter tomorrow. But until then, we’re fully prepared for anything, as Thursday’s incident clearly shows,” Army Brig. Gen. Jack Sterling, Combined Joint Task Force-76 deputy commander (support), said in the release.

The spate of incidents underscores predictions that, as winter snows melt along mountain paths favored by insurgents, fighting in Afghanistan will intensify.

In an April interview with Stars and Stripes at his headquarters in Afghanistan, Army Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya hinted at upcoming operations by U.S. and Afghan forces.

“If there is going to be a spring offensive, then let it be ours,” said Kamiya, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-76.

“We have very good intelligence. We know what [anti-coalition forces are] doing. They will soon feel the effects of an offensive of our own.”

Kamiya did not go into specifics, but he said any operations would not be limited to airborne troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, both of which are in Afghanistan now.

“This is not an airborne fight,” he said. “This is a broad coalition.”


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