59 Taliban killed in offensive by Afghan commandos

The Afghan forces are for the past three days combing mountainous region in Kamdesh district in Nuristan province, which touches Pakistan.

Kabul: 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 an 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 (ISAF)
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.

PTI

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