AT News Report
KABUL: Afghan security forces killed at least 99 Taliban fighters as part of five-day clearing operations in Balamorghab district of western Badghis province, the ministry of defense said Monday.
Clashes between the government forces with support of foreign forces, and Taliban insurgents have not subsided even in the wake of serious talks between US peace envoy, Taliban negotiation members and in the face of forthcoming Doha talks to be held among Afghan influential figures and Taliban next week with core aim to seek a negotiated solution to end decade-old conflict in Afghanistan.
Ministry of Defense said that joint forces, Commandos, Special Forces from Police and National Directorate of Security, and Afghan Air Force have started the second phase (offensive phase) of operations in Balamorghab district of Badghis, in 99 Taliban terrorists were killed and 35 were wounded in the past 48 hours.
Tactical vehicles, a large amount weapons and ammunition were seized or were destroyed in the area, the ministry said in a statement. The clearing operation continues in the district, added statement.
Unfortunately, during these operations eight Afghan National Army and four Afghan National Police who fought with bravery and courage, were embraced martyrdom, the statement lamented. 10 Afghan National Army soldiers and 24 Police have also sustained injuries during clashes.
“Terrorist death bodies left in battlefields. Afghan National Defense and Security Forces helped the Red Cross workers to carry those bodies from the battlefields.”
The ministry strongly rejected Taliban’s claim over civilian casualties. “The claims of Taliban terrorists on civilian casualties in Khoji area are unrealistic and baseless, because there was no civilian left due to intense fighting that was initiated by the Taliban. Once again, we assure the Afghan people that in Balamorghab no civlians have been harmed,” the ministry said.
It also said that since 72 hours, Taliban are under intensive pressure by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. “Majority of the key areas are under our control. In order to decrease the battlefields and media pressure, the Taliban are claiming unidentified civilian casualties.”
According to statement, ministry’s evacuation teams along with Afghan Air Force shifted injured security and defense forces to nearest health facilities as well as all the bodies of martyred soldiers have been transported to Kabul to be transferred to their respected families.
Defense ministry last week said they made a tactical retreat from a number of checkpoints in the district to avoid civilian casualties.
Since that, clearing operations had kicked off, where Afghan and coalition forces conducted multiple airstrikes to retake control of the fallen areas with huge casualties in part of Taliban insurgents.
Taliban also claimed progress against security forces in Balamorghab fighting while their negotiation team concluded fifth round of talks with US in Doha and soon to conduct face-to-face talks with Afghan peace delegation again in Doha.
The clash has been intensified as US Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation left Kabul on Sunday evening, where he spoke with Afghan leaders over Afghan peace push with expectation that the upcoming Afghan officials and Taliban meeting to bear fruits to logically put an end to the Afghan conflict.