43 rebels killed in Warduj
FAIZABAD (PAN): Forty-three militants have been killed in a joint ground and air offensive in the remote northern province of Badakhshan, local officials said on Friday. The Taliban, however, rejected the claim as baseless.
Security forces conducted operation after they came under ambush in Warduj district, where four insurgent hideouts were pounded in Hamwarsayee, Dasht-i-Shola, Zaghak and Pul-i-Barabari areas, the governor’s spokesman said.
Abdul Maroof Rasikh told Pajhwok Afghan News 43 fighters were killed and four of their bases destroyed as a result of the operation, which came two weeks after 16 policemen and soldiers died in rebel assaults.
The ground operation by Afghan army, police and intelligence personnel is still in progress, according to the spokesman, who said the dead included some Taliban commanders. However, he did not name the militant leaders killed.
Mohammad Khawar, the district’s administrative head, said army reinforcements led by 209th Shaheen Military Corps Commander Gen. Zalmai Weesa -- had arrived from Balkh and Kunduz provinces to take part in the offensive.
“Most areas have been cleared but 30 percent areas of the district are still under Taliban’s control,” Khawar said, adding a new operation codenamed “Eagle” would be launched in Warduj in the next few days.
A Taliban spokesman, meanwhile, denied the fighters’ casualties. Zabihullah Mujahid said the bombardment had not harmed the Taliban strongholds in the area.
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