Over 110 militants killed as Afghan forces increase pressure: Officials

More than 110 militants have been killed in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours as government forces have increased pressure on the Taliban outfit, officials said Sunday.

In the latest crackdown, the government forces launched massive offensive from the ground and air against the Taliban in Yangi Qala district of the northern Takhar province Sunday morning.

Besides recapturing the restive district and killing five armed militants including their commander Mullah Wazir, the military also attacked Taliban positions in the neighboring Darqad district, provincial government spokesman Mohammad Jawad Hajari said.

Similarly, fighting aircrafts stormed a Taliban hideout in Dara-e-Suf Payan district of the northern Samangan province on the same day Sunday, killing 12 militants including Mawlawi Noorudin, the shadow governor of the armed group for the troubled province, army spokesman in the northern region Mohammad Hanif Rezai told Xinhua.

Seven more militants have been killed in Garziwan district of the northern Faryab province over the past 24 hours, Rezai added.

More than 90 militants have been killed and 20 others injured as security forces backed by fighting planes stormed Taliban hideouts in parts of the eastern Paktika province since Saturday, provincial police spokesman Shah Mohammad Aryan said.

The increase in the government forces’ crackdowns on Taliban fighters is taking place in the wake of the cancelation of U.S.-Taliban peace talks last week.

After a suicide bombing that rocked Kabul on Sept. 5 and killed 12 people including an American soldier and injured 42 Afghan civilians, U.S. President Donald Trump called off the talks and stressed for mounting pressure on the militants.

According to local officials, the U.S.-led coalition forces’ fighting planes have backed the Afghan forces in crackdown on the armed militants.

Taliban fighters have also stepped up operations since the cancelation of the peace talks and challenging government forces in several provinces.

The armed outfit has gained ground and even blocked the main highway linking the national capital Kabul to eight northern provinces.

According to Abdul Qadir, a power company official, Taliban militants have destroyed three pylons in the northern Baghlan province and thus cutting some electricity supply to Kabul.