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Afghan army kills 59 Taliban men near Pak border

April 14, 2012 18:24 IST

Afghan forces backed by air support from Nato aircraft have launched a broad sweep of the country's northeast borders killing 59 Taliban insurgents in a major offensive in a province that serves as a militant supply route from Pakistan.

The Afghan forces are for the past three days combing mountainous region in Kamdesh district in Nuristan province, which touches Pakistan, in a spring onslaught on Taliban bases.

"14 armed insurgents were killed, 34 wounded and 18 others arrested by Afghan forces during the last 24 hours," the interior ministry said in a statement.

Kamdesh is a strategic base for the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan and serves as a spring board for militants crossing from Pakistan's turbulent Wazirstan province, a spokesman of the Nuristan province said.

Nato's International Security Assistance Force spokesman said that 32 other militants had been killed in recent days.

According to the sources, about 400 Afghan policemen are assisting Afghan commandos in the sweep across the province, considered to be a den of Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir and Haqqani network.

The interior ministry said that Afghan forces were in the restive province to stay. "This time we are not going to just conduct a big operation and leave."

They said that the Afghan forces had gained control of the main road through Kamdesh for the first time in years.

The ministry said that after the combing operations, security personnel would set-up more check-posts to control infiltration of militants.

The commandos and the policemen descended into the area by helicopters, a defence ministry statement said.

The ministry said the new operation was another example of successful transition of combat operations from the US-led forces to the Afghan Army. "We expect to see more such types of Afghan-led operations in spring and summer."

The defence ministry said that on April 12, 8 Taliban militants were killed and 19 others apprehended, while on April 11, 5 insurgents were killed and 18 arrested.

They said the Afghan Police had captured Taliban's deputy shadow governor of southern Helmand province 'Janan' who is famous under the name of Syed Ghulam.

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