Afghan battle claims over 40 lives inside 24 hours

KABUL, March 11 (Xinhua) — More than 40 fighters, majority of who were anti-government militants, have been killed in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, officials said Monday.

In the latest showdown between security forces and the Taliban, at least four Taliban militants have been killed in Azon Kotal area in Rustaq district of the northern Takhar province on Monday, leaving four militants dead, a local pro-government militia commander Mohammad Qasim told Xinhua.

Qasim also confirmed that one of his comrades had been injured in the fighting, which broke out on Monday morning.

Government forces’ aircraft targeted Taliban positions in Chian and Khanaqa neighborhoods in the outskirts of Tirin Kot city, capital of southern Uruzgan province on Sunday, destroying seven Taliban hideouts and killing 23 militants, said an army statement released Monday.

Moreover, Jamshid Shahabi, the spokesman for western Badghis provincial government told Xinhua that fighting in Bala Murghab district of the restive province has left 14 dead including 10 militants and four security personnel since Sunday.

Four more security personnel and more than a dozen other were injured.

Both the Taliban fighters and government forces have intensified actions amid peace efforts.

The Taliban and the United States started direct talks in November 2018 and the fifth round of the tough talks have been continuing in Qatar’s capital Doha behind closed door over the past two weeks.

According to local observers, both the government and the Taliban group have been in a hard bid to gain more ground for dialogue.

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