Afghan fighting kills over 40 fighters in 24 hours: officials


KABUL: At least 43 fighters including three police personnel and a Taliban commander were killed in fighting between government forces and the Taliban group in the country over the past 24 hours, officials said Saturday.

The government forces stormed Taliban hideouts in parts of the restive Helmand province over the past 24 hours, killing 12 insurgents including Taliban eminent commander Mullah Shir Agha, said a statement of the army released on Saturday.

Mullah Shir Agha, along with five of his armed men, were killed in Sangin district on Friday after his hideout came under fighting aircraft’s attack, the statement said, adding over a dozen more insurgents have been injured in the province.

Similarly, the government has killed 13 militants and injured 12 others in Qaisar, Almar and Garziwan districts of the northern Faryab province over the 24 hours, said Mohamad Hanif Rezai, an army spokesman in the northern region.

According to Rezai, government forces operations against Taliban outfit have left 10 militants dead and injured over a dozen others in Chamtal district of the northern Balkh province since Friday.

Mohibullah Mohib, police spokesman in the western Farah province, reported killing of five militants and injuring of seven others in the relatively volatile province over the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz Big, the head of Baghis provincial council, told Xinhua that the Taliban offensive on security checkpoints in Qadis district on early Saturday killed three security personnel and injured five others.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi in contact with media has disputed the claims made by security officials, and in counter-claim, insisted that scores of security personnel had been killed over the past 24 hours.

These operations against the Taliban are likely to affect the outcome of peace talks between the Taliban and the United States in Doha.

Taliban have already shown reluctance to include the Afghan government in the peace process. They have said the Taliban will hold dialogue with the Ghani-led government after the withdrawal of US forces and implementation of the ceasefire.