Taliban fighters battered in southern Kandahar amid call for truce in northern Kunduz province

Taliban militants have been battered in the southern Kandahar province as 38 were killed amid the call for a truce in the northern Kunduz as fighting gets momentum in both the restive provinces.

A total of 38 militants have been confirmed dead on Saturday in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban outfit, a statement of the Defense Ministry said Sunday.

According to the statement, the Taliban militants were gathered in parts of the restive Arghandab district on Saturday to attack security checkpoints in different areas of the district but the security forces backed by fighting planes targeted the insurgents elsewhere in the district, killing 38 on the spot and injuring 13 others.

Two hideouts of the insurgents and a number of arms and ammunition including 17 anti-vehicle and anti-personnel mines had also been discovered and defused, the statement said.

Kandahar, where the armed group emerged in 1994 and ruled major parts of Afghanistan until its dismissal in late 2001, has been the focal point of the Taliban outfit since the U.S.-Taliban so-called peace deal inked in late February last year.

The Taliban militants have launched major offensives against security forces in parts of Kandahar over the past several months but failed to gain major ground.

According to a local observer Najibullah, “Taliban believe that overrunning Kandahar” enables the armed group to overrun the neighboring Zabul, Helmand and Uruzgan provinces.

In the meantime, more than 100 people including elders and chieftains gathered in Taliban hotbed of the northern Kunduz province on Sunday, calling upon the Taliban and the government to observe a ceasefire and help to make the ongoing peace talks in Doha succeed.

The first round of talks between the government and the Taliban group which began on Sept. 12 ended in mid-December without major breakthrough, while the second round started on Jan. 5 and so far no significant progress has been reported. Enditem