9 rebels, 2 security men killed in new offensive
KABUL (PAN): Nine insurgents and two security officials have been killed since search operations simultaneously launched in Azra district of central Logar and Hesarak district of eastern Nangarhar province a day earlier, Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials said on Thursday.
The operations are aimed to drive militants from the two districts which had a common border, according to local officials.
Maj. Gen. Afzal Aman, Chief of Staff for Operations at the MoD, told a joint press conference with MoD spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi in Kabul that nearly 400 militants, including foreigners, operated in the two districts.
He said the operations were underway as planned and involved four Afghan National Army’s battalions and two air force squads, with police assisting the ground forces.
Gen. Azimi said the Taliban wanted to bring the two districts under their control in order to use the areas as their centre for planning attacks. He also claimed the rebels were trying to reach their goal in complicity with local officials.
Maj. Gen. Aman said a mortar shell launching cell belonging to the insurgents was destroyed during an airstrike. He added the Taliban were out to plant roadside bombs to target security forces.
Recently residents of Azra complained the Taliban fighters had closed all roads leading to the district and people faced problems, including a food shortage.
Former Hesarak district chief, Abdul Khaliq Maroof, had warned earlier in the month the district could be captured by insurgents.
The ongoing offensive in Hesarak has been codenamed Shaheen 15, 201st Selab Military Corps spokesman Col. Noman Hatifi told Pajhwok Afghan News.
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