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Gunbattle in Afghanistan leaves 80 militants dead, governor says

By David Ariosto, CNN
A U.S. chinook helicopter flies past a mountainous area of Afghanistan's Paktika province on July 1.
A U.S. chinook helicopter flies past a mountainous area of Afghanistan's Paktika province on July 1.
  • NEW: Five other militants killed in Helmand province, including three Taliban commanders
  • Paktika governor: at least 80 militants are killed in joint operations
  • NATO confirms 50 insurgents were killed
  • Separately, security handover ceremonies take place in Kabul and Panjshir province
  • Afghanistan
  • Insurgencies
  • NATO
  • The Taliban

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least 80 militants were killed in a series of operations involving Afghan and NATO forces during a day-long firefight last week in the country's restive southeast, Paktika provincial governor Mukhlas Afghan said Sunday.

NATO said it could only confirm 50 insurgents were killed in the fight.

The operation, which began Wednesday and spanned the night into Thursday, was fought in a "known Haqqani network" area.

The Haqqani network is an insurgent group loosely affiliated with the Taliban and is believed to be based in Pakistan's frontier territories.

The raid included Afghan special forces and engaged "multiple groups of insurgents" who were armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and heavy machine guns, NATO's International Security Assistance Force reported Friday.

Multiple insurgent groups were holed up in areas that included caves and fortified bunker positions, ISAF said.

Elsewhere, coalition raids on Sunday in Helmand province left five militants dead, including three Taliban commanders, according to provincial governor Dawood Ahmadi. Three others were captured, he said.

Sunday's announcement coincides with formal ceremonies marking the handover of security to Afghan forces in parts of Kabul and Panjshir province.

They are the fifth and sixth areas to be transferred to national forces.

CNN's Fazel Reshad contributed to this report