KABUL, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Up to 44 anti-government militants were killed across the conflict-riddled Afghanistan over the past 24 hours as government forces have kept pressure on the militant groups, officials said Wednesday.
Government forces in the latest crackdown against militants stormed a Taliban hideout in the eastern Wardak province late on Tuesday night, killing eight insurgents including the alleged mastermind of the bloody suicide bombing on a base of the Afghan National Directorate for Security (NDS), or the country's spy agency, in provincial capital Maidan Shahr on Monday that killed 36 personnel of the agency and injured 58 others, said a statement of NDS released here Wednesday.
Similarly, the government forces' fighting aircrafts pounded Taliban positions in Miwand district of the southern Kandahar province on Tuesday killing 17 insurgents and wounding six others, said an army statement released Wednesday.
Government forces, according to a newsletter of the army, have killed 14 Taliban militants and injured seven others in Shindand district of the western Herat province since Tuesday.
The security forces, according to security officials, captured six Taliban fighters and seized more than 60 pieces of various assault rifles including Kalashnikovs from their hideouts in Ghani Khil district of the eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday.
At least five militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) outfit were also killed in Achin district of the eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday, an army statement said on Wednesday.
However, a Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Majahid has disputed the claim made by the government officials, saying dozens of security forces had been killed across the country since Tuesday.
Warring sides in Afghanistan usually exaggerate the casualties of their opponents and it is difficult to verify the figures given by them with independent sources.