KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, July 24 (Xinhua) -- More than 50 combatants with majority of them Taliban militants have been killed in the southern Kandahar and neighboring Zabul province since Thursday as Taliban's attempts to overrun districts failed, officials said Friday.
Taliban militants were attempting to launch massive offensives in Arghandab, Shinkai and Shahjoy districts of Zabul province late Thursday night, but the government forces in preemptive action stormed the Taliban gathering from ground and air, killing 25 fighters on the spot and wounding 27 others, said an army statement released on Friday.
Similarly, fighting between security forces and the Taliban group in Marouf district of Kandahar province on Thursday had left 29 fighters dead including 27 militants and two policemen, provincial police spokesman Jamal Barikzai said.
According to the spokesman, the Taliban insurgents launched massive attacks on security checkpoints in Taghri area Thursday night to gain ground and overrun Marouf district, but police returned fire triggering heavy fighting during which airstrikes killed 27 militants on the spot.
Two policemen were also killed during the clash, he added. Over a dozen other including six policemen were injured.
The Afghan forces have intensified pressure on the militants as warplanes on the Taliban group in Adraskan district of the western Herat province on Wednesday bombed dozens of militants including ranking commanders.
However, the Taliban and some locals have disputed the claim, saying majority of those killed were civilians.
Rejecting the claim, Acting Afghan Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid said on Thursday that the Taliban insurgents have been fighting the "Afghan Muslim soldiers" but observing a ceasefire with the Americans.
Speaking at a ceremony on Thursday to introduce the new army chief of Afghanistan, National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib called upon security forces "to be vigilant and not to remain indifferent on Taliban activities," urging the insurgent group to give up fighting and stop destruction of Afghanistan. Enditem