74 Taliban dead in Zurmat operation
KABUL/KHOST: Afghan defence ministry on Friday claimed 74 Taliban were killed during ground and aerial operations in the Zurmat district of sotheastren Paktiya province. Taliban, however, said the operation left numerous civilians dead.
A press release issued by defense ministry said seven key commanders among 74 Taliban gunmen were killed and eight more wounded during the ground and aerial operations conducted in Zurmat district of Paktiya province.
It said three Taliban bases, two weapons caches, three heavy vehicles and several motorcycles were also destroyed during the operation, adding there was no harm to Afghan forces and civilians.
Local sources, meanwhile, told AIP that the operation was conducted by Afghan combined forces targeting a gathering of Taliban.
The source said Afghan combined forces from Paktiya, Paktika and Khost launched simultaneous offensive against the Taliban gathering in Zurmat district.
During the operation, aircrafts also severely bombed Taliban, killing upto 80 Taliban fighters, the source said.
According to the source, Taliban shadow governor for Zurmat district, Mullah Daud, and several other key commanders and members of Haqqani Network were among the dead.
A house where Taliban gunmen were believed to be taking shelters was bombed by aircrafts, killing 16 members of a family, all of them civilian, the source said.
Similarly, four students were killed in a roadside bomb blast during the same operation, bringing the civilian death toll from the operation to 20, the source added.
Yesterday, US forces announced that they lost a fighter eastern Afghanistan.
It is said that the US soldier was killed in the Zurmat district along with several Afghan troops.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AIP that civilians houses were bombarded in the Zurmat district wherein 35 civilians including 15 members of family were killed.
He said numerous houses were also destroyed in airstrike. Mujahid did not disclose if there were any casualties to Taliban.