Afghan soldiers kill 37 militants

Kabul, Jan 16 (IANS) At least 37 Taliban militants were killed as clashes broke out in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, an official said on Saturday.

“The Taliban militants attacked joint Afghan army and police security checkpoints in Adam Khan and Rahim Kala localities of Nahri Sarraj district Friday morning.

“The NATO-led coalition’s air power supported the Afghan forces to push back the day-long attacks. As a result 37 militants were killed and 14 wounded,” Lt-Colonel Mohammad Rassoul Zazai, spokesman of army Corp 215 Maiwand, told Xinhua news agency.

No member of the security forces was killed during the clashes, while three insurgents’ vehicles were destroyed, Zazai added.

Helmand province, notorious for poppy growing, is also a known Taliban stronghold.

The Taliban has intensified attacks across the country since the start of this year, which coincides with the potential resumption of government-Taliban peace talks and the launch of the second round of the four-nation meeting of Afghanistan, China, the US and Pakistan on the Afghan peace process to be held in Kabul early next week.

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