Alwaght- At least 40 Taliban militants, including two senior leaders, reportedly have been killed after Afghan forces conducted air strikes on their positions in northern and western regions of Afghanistan.
The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, claimed a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban, Reuters reported.
Afghanistan's defense ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an air strike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.
But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.
“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.
In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.
“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.
Last week the Taliban killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.
Eighteen years ago, the US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow a Taliban regime. It is still fighting the militants in what has become the longest war in US history.
The exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan is a condition set by the Taliban during the talks.