12 militants killed, 16 villages liberated in northern Afghan province

PUL-E-KHUMRI, Afghanistan, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) — More than 12 Taliban insurgents have been killed and 16 villages liberated from the militants’ clutch in the northern Baghlan province, an army spokesman in the northern region, Abdul Hadi Jamal, said Sunday.

The operation was launched four days ago against Taliban militants in parts of Baghlan province and so far 16 villages have been liberated in Dand-e-Ghori, Dand-e-Shahabudin and Kilagai areas of the restive province, the spokesman said.

Over two dozen more insurgents including Taliban senior commander Qari Bakhtyar who also served as shadow deputy governor for Baghlan province were wounded during the ongoing operation.

Zabihullah Majahid, a purported spokesman of the Taliban group, rejected the government’s claim and insisted the security forces’ operation had been repulsed.

The northern Baghlan province, with Pul-e-Khumri as its capital 160 km north of Kabul, has been the scene of increasing militancy over the past couple of years.