Dozens of Taliban insurgents killed in south Afghanistan


Published: 2020-12-13 12:30

Last Updated: 2024-04-20 04:29

Photo: Stripes
Photo: Stripes

Dozens of Taliban fighters were killed during violent battles that broke out Saturday night and Sunday between Afghan forces and insurgents who attacked checkpoints in the Kandahar province, officials said Sunday.

The Afghan Ministry of Defense announced in a statement that "the security forces repelled the attack, killing 51 terrorists and wounding nine others."

The Taliban insurgents carried out near-simultaneous attacks Saturday night and Sunday at checkpoints in five areas around the city of Kandahar, the capital of the province of the same name. Afghan forces responded by air and land, according to the ministry.

A local official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that seven members of one family were also killed in an air strike by Afghan forces in the Arghandab region.

He added that "the Afghan air force wanted to target a car bomb ... But when the car was struck and it exploded, it caused the death of civilians," indicating that the target car was parked near a house.

The Ministry of Defense said it had opened an investigation.

An AFP journalist at the scene reported that the battles, shootings and air strikes across the state lasted for several hours.

The Taliban did not want to comment on this information when AFP contacted it.

The province of Kandahar is a stronghold of the Taliban movement and the city of Kandahar was the capital of its regime in the nineties. Today, the city is under government control, but much of the surrounding areas are either under rebel control or are in dispute.

A few weeks ago, the Taliban launched a large-scale offensive in the vicinity of Kandahar city in the areas of Zirai, Dand, Panjway and even Arghandab.

In October, the rebels launched a similar offensive in neighboring Helmand province, forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes.

This attack, which specifically targeted Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand Province, prompted the United States to launch air strikes to defend Afghan forces.

The rebels have vowed not to target major cities and US forces since they signed an agreement with the Americans in February.

However, they increased their daily attacks against Afghan forces across the country, especially rural areas, despite ongoing talks between the two camps.

Peace talks that began in September in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government have been suspended and will resume on January 5, the two sides said Saturday.

Representatives of the rebels and Kabul wrote on Twitter that they had changed "the preliminary lists of points (which should be placed) on the agenda of the Afghan negotiations and that they had held preliminary discussions on these issues."

In recent months, Kabul has also witnessed bloody attacks, most often claimed by Daesh, including the firing of rockets Saturday that killed a civilian and injured two others.

And a bomb explosion in a vehicle Sunday also killed two civilians in the Afghan capital, according to police.