U.S. Navy F/A-18C Hornets from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise launched airstrikes against Taliban fighters near Kandahar and provided support for ground forces in Operation Medusa, launched Sunday by the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, according to a Navy news release.

The Hornets, from the “Sidewinders” of Strike Fighter Squadron 86, based in Beaufort, S.C., joined other coalition and Enterprise-based aircraft in airstrikes in southern Afghanistan, the release stated.

“The Enterprise Strike Group team is prepared to effectively support ground forces … by whatever means are possible,” Capt. Mark Wralstad, commander of Carrier Air Wing One, said in a statement. “Our air power, combined with the effectiveness of the ground forces, is proving to be a substantial force.”

Heavy fighting over the weekend left dozens of insurgents and at least five Canadian soldiers dead, officials said Monday.

One of those soldiers was killed by friendly fire from a U.S. A-10 attack aircraft participating in the airstrikes.

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