AT News Report
KABUL: At least 40 Taliban fighters have been killed and another six injured in western Herat province in what local officials on Tuesday labeled it an ‘internal fight’ between rival factions.
However, the Taliban group claims attacking a base of ‘pro-government uprising’.
Deadly battles for turf between two rival factions of the Taliban left at left 40 insurgents killed in Kort Locality of Guzara district, officials confirmed Tuesday.
The sporadic clashes that began Monday in the province, which borders Iran, continued Tuesday with casualties from both sides, said Jailani Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
Fighters of Commander Mullah Manan Nizai loyal to a breakaway faction of the Taliban led by Mullah Mohammad Rasool engaged in deadly clashes with the main faction led by Mulla Hebatullah in the district, Farhad said.
Wakeel Ahmad Korkhi, the security committee of the provincial council, said that 32 fighters of Commander Mullah Manan Niazi while eight loyalists of Mulla Hebatullah’s faction were killed in the exchange of fire. Another five men of Niazi and one of Hebatullah received injuries.
On their part, the Taliban claimed to have killed over 30 “pro-government militia fighters” in the restive Guzara district after overrunning a base of theirs.
The clashes came as the top U.S. envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad announced he would travel to India on Tuesday to further build international consensus in support of the peace process. After three-day talks with the Taliban in Qatar, Khalilzad said “excellent progress” has been made.
“My team and Taliban representatives will continue to discuss technical details as well as steps and mechanisms required for a successful implementation of the four-part agreement we’ve been working toward since my appointment. Agreement on these details is essential”, he tweeted before departing for India.