KABUL, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- At least 24 fighters from warring sides have been killed in the conflict-hit Afghanistan since Saturday, officials said Sunday.
Both government security forces and Taliban militants have stepped up operations to gain more grounds and consolidate positions ahead of any possible talks between the two sides to find negotiated settlement for Afghanistan's lingering crisis, local observers believe.
In the latest waves of violent crackdown on militants, the government forces stormed Taliban hideouts in Almar district of the northern Faryab province from the ground and air killing at least 10 insurgents including local Taliban leader Mawlawi Hayatullah on Sunday, said an army statement.
On the other hand, Taliban militants attacked security checkpoints in Zargaran area outside Ghazni city, the capital of eastern Ghazni province late Saturday, killing three security personnel and injuring another, provincial government spokesman Aref Nuri said Sunday.
The armed insurgents, however, targeted a government employee named Qari Hashimi in the southern Kandahar province on Sunday, killing him on the spot.
Meantime, the government forces, in crackdown against militants, targeted Taliban hideouts in Miwand district of the southern Kandahar province on Saturday and killed at least 10 militants, said an army statement released Sunday.
The Taliban outfit has yet to make comment on the government's claims.
Security officials say that military operations would increase against armed militants in Afghanistan.