Highway cleared, 160 militants eliminated: Helmand governor
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): At least 160 Taliban militants have killed and 64 others wounded during an operation for reopening the Helmand-Kandahar highway, an official said on Thursday.
Governor Hayatullah Hayat told reporters in Wazir-Banda locality security concerns had been addressed as landmines planted on the road had been defused.
A month back, the highway was deemed highly insecure, with militants frequently storming security check-posts in the area, the governor said.
So far 160 insurgents had been killed, 64 injured and four others captured by security forces, he said, adding three important sites, where bombs were concealed, had been destroyed.
During the offensive, Hayatullah said, around 1020 landmines were defused and check-posts set up in several localities to ensure security.
Lt. Gen. Moeen Faqir, the 215th Maiwand Corps commander, said public people were announced their confliction within militants when Taliban caused economics loss for them in the area.
The special force, Afghan National Army (ANA), police and National Directorate security (NDS) personnel were still in fighting against the militants, the commander added. Three security officials were also killed and six others wounded.
Meanwhile, a security source revealed 25 policemen had been killed at two check-posts torched by militants.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, rejected the claim as baseless. Instead he claimed the fighters had inflicted casualties on security forces during clashes.
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