Afghan forces kill some 80 Taliban militants
Afghan security forces have killed nearly 80 Taliban militants and injured over 90 others during security operations in troubled northern Afghanistan.
General Ghulam Farooq Ahmadi, a regional Corps commander, said at least 79 militants were killed, 92 were wounded and 25 others were arrested during the operations carried out in Baghlan Province.
The operations were jointly conducted by the Afghan police and army forces, he added.
Ahmadi noted that at least three Afghan soldiers also lost their lives and 9 others were wounded.
Security sources say at least 143 villages have been cleared from militants during the clean-up operations which were launched a month ago.
In a separate development, local Afghan media outlets said that at least 37 soldiers had gone missing after Taliban militants seized dozens of security posts in restive southern Uruzgan Province.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called on the army and police to defend Afghanistan against Taliban militants. Addressing an event at the presidential palace in Kabul on Thursday, Ghani said Afghan forces were now solely responsible for security in the country.
Several regions of Afghanistan are still facing serious security challenge and threats years after the US-led NATO troops invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
The US-led war removed Taliban militants from power, but several areas in the militancy-riddled country are still experiencing violence and bloodshed.
About 14,000 foreign forces, mostly American, remain in Afghanistan despite the end of the US-led combat mission, which came on December 31, 2014.
Senior US officials say the forces will focus mainly on training Afghan security forces across the country.