97 militants killed in Afghan operations

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Kabul, Aug 31 (IANS) At least 97 Taliban militants were killed and 24 injured as the Afghan security forces pressed ahead with offensives in restive provinces, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

In one operation, 57 Taliban militants were killed after joint Afghan security forces launched a cleanup operation in Jani Khel district of Paktia province, Xinhua news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

Sporadic clashes continue in outer sides of the district over the past days as security forces tried to regain control from militants who seized the area over the weekend.

In northern Baghlan province, 15 militants were killed and three wounded during clashes with the security forces in Baghlan-e-Markazi district, according to the statement.

Some 25 militants were killed, 21 injured and three captured during separate operations in Helmand, Zabul and Kunduz provinces, the statement added.

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It also confirmed loss of 12 army soldiers during the operations.

Joint Afgan security forces also seized weapons, defused several roadside bombs and landmines planted by the militants, the statement said.

The Afghan security forces have beefed up security operations against militants since April after Taliban militants started their annual spring offensive.

The Taliban has yet to make comment on the latest losses of their cadre.



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