33 rebels perish in Warduj offensive
FAIZABAD (PAN): At least 33 insurgents, including three of their commanders, were killed during a ground and air operation by Afghan forces in the Warduj district of northeastern Badakhshan province, officials said on Sunday.
Another 20 fighters were wounded during the offensive that began on Saturday in Ghanio, Ghuchan and Khoch areas, the governor’s spokesman, Abdul Maroof Rasikh, told Pajhwok Afghan News. Most of the Taliban’s fatalities resulted from airstrikes.
Warduj district chief, Dawlat Mohammad Khawar, said three rebels commanders -- Mullah Shamsullah, Mullah Padarjan and Faiz Rahman -- were among the dead. The bodies of three other guerrillas were found in their hideouts in the areas pounded a day earlier, he added
Khawar said the operation was aimed at clearing 11 villages of fighters. So far three policemen and one soldier have been killed and six others wounded during the operation.
But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed 18 Afghan police and army personnel had been killed and seven others wounded in a clash in Ghanio area.
A provincial council member, Zabihullah Attiqullah, said that 300 Taliban were operating against the government in Warduj. He said it was difficult to crush all the militants who hid in their safe haven and reemerged once an operation ended, he added.
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