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'Dozens' Of Taliban Militants Killed In Southern Afghanistan


Afghan security personnel gather at the site of a suicide attack at a police compound in Maiwand district of Kandahar Province in late December.

An Afghan security official says 83 Taliban fighters were killed during an operation by intelligence forces in the southern province of Kandahar late on January 31.

The head of military operations in Maiwand district, Sultan Mohammad, told RFE/RL on February 1 that dozens of the militants' vehicles and motorcycles were also destroyed in the operation, which he said was supported by air strikes.

"The group of insurgents were gathered to launch coordinated attacks on Afghan forces check posts in Panjwai and Maiwand districts of Kandahar Province," Mohammad said.

He didn't say whether there were any casualties among Afghan forces.

Meanwhile, an Afghan official said two U.S. drone strikes on January 30 hit a building where dozens of Taliban were meeting in the southeastern province of Ghazni, killing 26 extremists and injuring 22 others.

Arif Noori, a provincial spokesman, said a senior commander known as Aqhani, who led the Taliban in Ghazni Province, was killed in the attack.

The Taliban did not immediately comment on the operations, which come as the Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the militants since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.

In recent weeks, Kabul has been hit by several deadly assaults, including a massive suicide car bombing in a crowded central area on January 27 that killed more than 100 people and was claimed by the Taliban.

U.S. President Donald Trump in August unveiled his new strategy for the South Asia region, under which Washington has deployed 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan to train, advise, and assist local security forces, and to carry out counterterrorism missions.

The United States currently has around 14,000 uniformed personnel in the country.

With reporting by AP
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