Afghan forces, Taliban make tall claims of casualties

KABUL (AA): Afghan security forces and the Taliban on Sunday made tall claims of inflicting heavy casualties on each other in central Ghazni province amid an evident surge in fighting.

According to an official statement, which came in the backdrop of Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid’s trip to his native Ghazni province over the weekend, a 100-member so-called “Red Unit” of the Taliban was eliminated along with its commander Atiqullah alias Abu Dojana.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the group of the Taliban militants wanted to storm Afghan National Army check posts in the Muqar district of the province, and was eliminated in air and ground offensives.

Meanwhile, in a counter statement, the Taliban claimed to have killed 93 soldiers besides injuring 17 others in the same province, located at less than 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the capital Kabul.

The provincial capital of central Ghazni province was briefly overrun by the Taliban last year.

String of blasts in Kabul

Separately, a string of bomb explosions in the capital killed one civilian and left ten more wounded on Sunday morning, an official confirmed.

The Ministry of Interior said in a statement that improvised explosive devices were used in three blasts in the Khushal Khan area of the city.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts.

A day earlier, the Taliban called on the US to remain “a sincere partner” in the negotiation process for peace.

In a message attributed to the group’s leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban blamed the Afghan government for trying to sabotage dialogue between the Taliban and Afghan political figures “by seeking prominence”.

Referring to the ongoing talks with the US in Doha, the Taliban said this would not stop them from fighting in Afghanistan.

Khaama Press adds: The Afghan security forces have thwarted the terrorists bid to detonate a bomb in Kabul city.

According to a statement released by Kabul Police Headquarters, the security forces discovered and defused an improvised explosive device during an operation in Kabul city.

The security forces conducted the operation in Bot Khak area in 12th district of the city at around 8 pm local time on Saturday night.

The Kabul Police Headquarters further added that the terrorists had covered the improvised explosive device with watermelon peel.

The anti-government armed militants have been attempting to carry out attacks in key cities and provinces of the country.