At least 50 militants loyal to the Taliban outfit were killed and dozens more injured in a series of air raids by government forces in Afghanistan’s Paktia province, a top official has confirmed.

Addressing reporters on Monday, provincial governor Mohammad Halim Fedai said that many of the dead militants were foreign fighters, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Governor confirmed that the Afghan air force launched a spate of airstrikes against pro-Taliban militants in Zarmat, Mirzaka and Ahmadabad districts late on Sunday night.

In addition, he said five pro-government militiamen had gone missing after some Taliban fighters stormed a checkpoint in the Kalkin area of Mirzaka district on Sunday.

In the meantime, another official said that in the fighting in the Kalkin area, more than a dozen security personnel were killed, and the militants also captured a few pro-government militiamen.

Fedai howeverm rejected the official’s account.

The Taliban outfit is yet to make a comment on the reports.

Since the official withdrawal of the US and other NATO troops in Afghanistan on May 1, the Taliban have intensified attacks on provincial capitals, districts, bases and checkpoints.

Tens of thousands of Afghans have been displaced in the past few weeks.

The withdrawal of international troops is due to be completed by September 11 at the latest.

–IANS

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