Taliban’s blockade of Kabul-Kandahar highway continues
Officials said 90 militants, blocking the highway, were killed during a joint ground and air operation by Afghan and foreign forces. Nine civilians also suffered casualties.
Some residents of Ghazni City, the capital of the province, and provincial council members had said on Monday the insurgents had closed the busy road in the Asfandi area of Ghazni City.
But Governor Amanullah Hamim announced late on Monday the militants had been pushed back by the security forces and the highway had been reopened for traffic.
However, Deputy Governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi told Pajhwok Afghan News on Tuesday the road was still blocked by the fighters, causing civilians discomfort.
He confirmed Afghan forces launched the military operation last night in Asfandi and Qala Qazi areas. However, he put the death toll for the militants at 50 killed and 40 wounded.
Four civilians including a woman were also killed and five others wounded during the offensive, he said.
Special Forces Commander Mohammad Ismail Quraishi said a notorious Taliban commander, Mullah Idris, was also wounded in the offensive. “New security units have arrived and we would soon take decisive action to reopen the highway.”
But Mohammad Rahim, a resident of the Noghi area of Ghazni City, said clashes were still underway. He added five civilians had been killed during the firefights.
Without commenting on the casualties, the Taliban confirmed blocking the Kabul-Kandahar highway in a tactical move. In a statement, they asked people not to travel the highway.
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