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Afghan security forces backed by army troopers have killed more than 50 Taliban militants and wounded nearly three dozen others during separate clean-up operations across the country over the past 24 hours.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that 57 militants were killed and 35 injured during a series of operations carried out in the provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghazni, Helmand, Herat, Khost, Kunduz, Logar, Paktia, Sar-e Pol, Uruzgan and Zabul.
The statement added that two militants were also arrested in the raids, without mentioning whether there were any casualties on the side of the Afghan forces.
Afghan forces also confiscated light and heavy weaponry, and defused several rounds of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during the operations.
Taliban have not yet made any comments on the issue.
Fighting between Afghan forces and militants has intensified since the Taliban launched its annual spring offensive against Afghan forces and foreign embassies on April 24.
Afghan Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulumi and the deputy to Defense Ministry spokesman, Brigadier General Dawlat Waziri, have dismissed the Taliban spring offensive, saying the country’s security forces are capable of foiling militant attacks.
“Our enemies don’t have the capability to collapse any province or district,” Waziri said.
Afghan troops prepare to board a helicopter in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, on April 30, 2015. © AFP
Afghanistan faces a security challenge years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but many areas in the country are still witnessing violence, which threatens stability.
At least 13,500 foreign forces remain in Afghanistan despite the end of the US-led combat mission, which came on December 31, 2014. The forces, mainly from the US, are there for what Washington calls a support mission. NATO says the forces will focus mainly on counterterrorism operations and training Afghan soldiers and policemen.