Afghan soldiers participate in military op against Taliban

Afghan army soldiers took part in a military operation against Taliban militants in Mehterlam, Laghman province, amid an increase in violence across the war-torn country.

Taliban militants have intensified activities in eastern Laghman and northern Baghlan provinces over the past weeks, Xinhua news agency.

They are attempting to tighten noose around important highways linking Kabul to the northern and eastern provinces.

Chief of Army Staff General Mohammad Yasin Zia visited Laghman’s provincial capital Mehterlam on Monday, saying the militants’ attempts to gain ground had been foiled and the security situation there has been improved.

More than 50 militants were killed and some 60 others injured during clean-up operations in Laghman, the provincial government said in a statement on Monday.

Meanwhile, another clean-up operation is underway in Baghlan as some three dozen militants were killed and injured since Sunday in the restive province, an army statement confirmed.

The Taliban have intensified attacks on provincial capitals, district centres and larger security bases following the drawdown of international forces in Afghanistan, which started on May 1.

Since then, they have been able to take control of four districts in Afghanistan, one of which is only a few kilometres from Kabul.

After 20 years of international troops in the country, the withdrawal, due to be completed by September 11, leaves Afghanistan to a potentially bleak future amid rising attacks by Taliban insurgents.

The Islamic State terror group is also active in the country.