Afghan forces kill 31 Taliban militants

Kabul: Afghan security forces killed 31 Taliban militants and injured 15 others in Nangarhar province, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) were aware of an imminent attack on checkpoints in Qelgho area of Khogyani district late Wednesday. The ANDSF launched a responsive attack, leaving the casualties among the Taliban, the Ministry said in a statement.

Ten vehicles were also destroyed during the fighting and five Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were defused after the clashes, Xinhua news agency reported citing the statement as saying.

Attahulla Khogiani, provincial government spokesman, told Xinhua that 13 of the killed Taliban members were foreign militants.

Thirteen non-Afghan nationals were among the killed. The peace pact signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha in February required the Taliban militants to reduce violence and cut ties with foreign militants and militants of Al Qaeda international terrorist group, Khogiani said.

But Taliban did not sever ties with the international terrorists, and the foreign militants still support Taliban in the fight against the government and the people of Afghanistan, he said.

Since the signing of the peace deal, Afghan leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani, have frequently demanded the Taliban to reduce violence.

The militants, however, have intensified attacks, killing and injuring scores of combatants and civilians.