50 Taliban members killed in operation in Afghanistan's Laghman
Iran Press TV
Monday, 24 May 2021 2:01 PM
Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says 50 militants have been killed in a government operation to push back a major Taliban offensive in the eastern province of Laghman bordering Kabul.
According to the ministry, over 60 militants were also injured when Afghan forces clashed with the Taliban on Sunday night in the provincial capital, located about 120 kilometers from the Afghan capital.
Fierce fighting erupted late Sunday on the edge of Mihtarlam, a city of around 140,000 people and the capital of Laghman.
Media reports said hundreds of people had been displaced.
Zia, a former army chief of staff, said the assault by Taliban had been completely foiled and repelled. "With the arrival of reinforcements, the enemy has sustained heavy blows."
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants captured more than three dozen security checkpoints on the outskirts of the city.
The Taliban push on in efforts to capture new territory.
In recent weeks, the group has seized the districts of Nerkh and Jalraiz in the province of Wardak, which has long been used by militants as a gateway to reach the capital and launch deadly attacks.
The Taliban also captured Burka in Baghlan province earlier this month after government forces withdrew from the area.
The recent incidents coincide with the United States' process of withdrawing forces from Afghanistan.
All foreign troops were supposed to have been withdrawn by May 1, as part of an agreement that the US had reached with the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha, last year. But US President Joe Biden last month pushed that date back to September 11.
The Taliban warned that the passing of the May 1 deadline for a complete withdrawal "opened the way for" the militants to take every counteraction they deemed appropriate against foreign forces in the county.
NATO member Norway has acknowledged that the two-decade war in and occupation of Afghanistan by the Western military alliance has failed to bear a result and bring peace to the war-torn country.
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