Operation to reopen road makes headway

Monitoring Desk

TIRINKORT: At least 12 Taliban militants have been killed and dozens wounded during an operation aimed at reopening the Kandahar-Uruzgan highway, officials said on Monday.

About a 75 kilometre portion of the highway has been under Taliban’s control for the past one year in the Sarkhobi and Urdu Balagh localities. The road has been shut for government officials and supply vehicles.

But a clearing operation has been underway for a week to reopen the road. An eight-kilometre area has been recaptured from the insurgents in Sarkhobi, a military official says. Col. Abdul Wali Haqmal, commander of the fourth brigade of the 205thAtal Military Corps, told Pajhwok Afghan News 12 rebels had been killed and many others wounded in the operation.

The area had been cleared of dozens of roadside landmines planted by the Taliban, he said, adding parts of the asphalted highway had been damaged. The rebels still had hideouts on mountain peaks, hindering government supply convoys.

Meanwhile, provincial intelligence chief Brig Gen. Abdul Samad Shams told Pajhwok that the insurgents were using civilian homes as trenches.

Shams said security forces have been trying to protect civilians.

Dil Agha, An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier, promised they would fight until the highway was reopened. He said security forces had suffered no causalities in the ongoing operation.

Driver Samiullah said they had been using an alternative path for the past four days. The insurgents had warned them against travelling the road, he alleged. (Pajhwok)