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Army drives Taliban back from 20 Balkh districts

AT-KABUL: Taliban fighters were pushed back during operations launched jointly by the Afghan and US troops in 20 villages of the Chahar Bolak district in the northern province of Balkh, the army’s 209 Shaheen corps said Sunday.

The military corps said in a statement that during the Operation Walid 5 began last week in the districts of Chahar Bolak and Chemtal, more than 70 militants have been killed.

It said that tens of other insurgents lost their lives in a US airstrike carried out in the province, but did not provide details of the strike.

Hanif Rezaie, spokesman for the Shaheen military corps said that more than 70 Taliban fighters were killed in army operations in Koshkak and Alborz villages of Chahar Bolak and Chemtal districts.

“The Operation Walid 5 is going on in Chahar Bolak for a week, during which, the US forces targeted a gathering of militants. So far, 20 villages have been cleared from Taliban militants,” Rezaie said.

He added that two senior commanders of Taliban for Jawzjan and Balkh provinces were among the dead.

Members of provincial council said that Taliban have intensified attacks on different areas in Balkh since the beginning of the voter registration for the legislative election, with the aim of disordering situation before and during election.

Hashem Azimi, a member of the provincial council, said that hundreds of families had fled their villages during the recent insecurity in Chahar Bolak district. He warned that the displaced people would be deprived from registering and voting if their areas were not secured.

“Surely, the displaced people will not have the chance to take part in the election, if their areas are not secured by government forces,” Azimi said.

Taliban claim their fighters had killed at least 10 army soldiers including two senior officers in Chahar Bolak.

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