Five Afghan policemen, 36 rebels killed in clashes
DPA & IANS
KABUL FIVE Afghan policemen were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan and 36 Taliban fighters were killed in separate military operations, Afghan government officials said on Saturday.
The bomb struck a border police vehicle in Durbaba district of Nangarhar province near Pakistan, killing all five policemen, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said.
They were killed, said the Nangarhar province official, when the vehicle in which they were patrolling was hit by the remote-controlled bomb.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Militants commonly plant bombs along roads used by security forces, inflicting heavy casualties on the military and also on civilians.
Meanwhile, the military claimed to have killed 36 rebel fighters in the southern province of Helmand during clashes in the last two days.
Local government spokesman Daud Ahmadi said 17 insurgents were killed by Afghan troops in Nad Ali, Nahr-e-Saraj and Greshk districts.
“Eleven other insurgents were killed during an operation of NATO-led forces in another area of Greshk district as they were preparing to attack police checkpoint,” he said.
According to the interior ministry officials, three Taliban militants were injured in the clashes. The Afghan police backed by NATO-led troops also captured 28 Taliban militants, the interior ministry said.
According to the ministry officials, eight joint operations were launched in Kunduz, Helmand, Ghazni, Khost and Farah provinces in the past 24 hours.
There has been a rise in militant activities in recent weeks. According to government officials, the spurt in militant activities is seasonal; every year during the spring season mountain passes open up because of the melting of ice. “The offensive comes every year as the country’s snows melt, making both travel and fighting easier,” he said. It normally leads to a surge of militant attacks throughout the country as the Taliban attempt to retake lost territory and intimidate the Afghan government.
Earlier, Taliban declared that its spring offensive, codenamed Al-Farouq, would from Thursday target “foreign invaders, their advisors, their contractors, all those who help them militarily and in intelligence”.
“Al-Farouq spring offensive will be launched on May 3 all over Afghanistan,” the militant group said. The militia said the code name came from Islam’s second caliph, Omar Al-Farouq known for his military advances in Asia and the Arab world during the 7th century.
The rebel group said it will adopt new tactics to “safeguard” civilians as part of the new offensive.
“New and tested war tactics will be implemented in the Al-Farouq operation and top priority will be given to safeguarding the lives and wealth of civilians”, the statement said. Nearly 3,000 US and allied troops, thousands of Afghans have lost their lives in the ongoing war. The Afghan war has also cost hundreds of billions of dollars.