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60 rebels killed, 100 wounded in Balkh, Jawzjan operations

SHIBERGHAN (Pajhwok): Security forces have wrapped up clearing operations in northern Jawzjan and Balkh provinces, claiming to have killed as many as 60 insurgents.

Another more than 100 rebels were wounded in the operations in Jawzjan’s Faizabad and Balkh’s Chamtal districts, said Jawzjan’s provincial government spokesman, Mohammad Raza Ghafori.

He said the operations were launched after religious festival Eidul Firt and wrapped up on Sunday night. He said four villages were cleared in Faizabad district and heavy casualties caused to the rebels.

Ghafori acknowledged some families had fled homes in Chamtal district due to the clashes but denied any casualties to the forces. He said relevant government officials were engaged in providing relief to the affected families.

Sahib Khan, a public uprising commander in Faizabad, said: “Our forces were on stand-by in Qura Boin, Shisha Khanaha, Kokaldash, Khairabad villages and were able to drive the insurgents after the arrival of commando forces.”

He said insurgents after joining forces from all over Faryab, Sar-i-Pul, Jawzjan, and Balkh provinces staged coordinated attacks on security personnel in Chamtal, Chahar Bolok districts of Balkh and Faizabad district of Jawzjan provinces in order to create insecurity the Shiberghan-Mazar-i-Sharif highway.

He said dozens of insurgents had been killed and wounded during clashes in the areas over the past one week.

However, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, via a telephonic communication denied their fighters had suffered casualties as much as claimed by the government, saying only five Taliban fighters had been killed and nine others wounded.

He claimed 26 security personnel, including two high-ranking officers, had been killed by fighters during the week-long clashes.  Mujahid claimed the Taliban were still in control of many areas, with the confict ongoing.

On the other hand, security officials, who declared ending the operations, said security check posts were being established in areas cleared of insurgents.

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