19 militants killed in Afghanistan

Kabul, Jan 5 (IANS) Afghan security forces have killed at least 19 militants in fresh military operations across the war-torn country, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

According to a statement, the operations began on Wednesday in 18 of 34 Afghan provinces.

“In one operation, the Afghan air force struck the enemies’ positions, killing five Taliban militants and destroyed two vehicles in Maruf district, southern Kandahar province,” Xinhua news agency said, quoting the ministry statement.

Ten insurgents, including two foreigners, were killed and nine wounded during a cleanup operation along a highway connecting southern Helmand province with the neighbouring western Nimroz province, the statement said.

It said the security forces also found and defused 20 landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) there.

The Afghan army commandos destroyed a militants’ bunker and seized arms and ammunition in Maywand district of Kandahar, the statement said. The remaining casualties occurred in separate provinces.

The statement did not disclose if security forces suffered any casualties.

Also, a security guard was killed and a passerby injured in an IED explosion in Jalalabad.