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Over 100 Taliban militants killed in clashes with Afghan forces: Defense Ministry

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand guard near a damaged petrol station at the site of a bomb attack to a convoy of Afghan security forces, in Kabul on April 21, 2021 (Photo by AFP)

Afghan government forces have killed more than 100 Taliban militants and wounded dozens of others in a series of clashes across the war-torn South Asian country over the past 24 hours, the Afghan Defense Ministry says.

In a statement released on Sunday, the ministry said that another 52 Taliban were also wounded as the Taliban and government forces clashed across several provinces, including the former militant bastion of Kandahar.

The statement did not give details of any casualties suffered by government forces and the Taliban have yet to offer any comment on the fighting. 

This came after a major international airfield in Afghanistan came under attack on Saturday. Sonny Leggett, the US military spokesman in Afghanistan, confirmed that “Kandahar Airfield received ineffective indirect fire this afternoon,” adding the attack had caused no human or material losses.

The developments came as the Taliban warned that the US military had violated the agreement signed last year by not finishing the troop withdrawal by May 1.

“This in principle opens the way for our mujahideen (fighters) to take appropriate action against the invading forces,” Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesman said, adding that the group was awaiting orders from its leaders for its future course of action.

The Pentagon says it formally began the process of withdrawing the last American and NATO troops from Afghan soil on Saturday.

Officials have said the withdrawal, which is the final phase of ending the US presence in Afghanistan after 20 years, will be completed by September 11.

Under an agreement that was reached between the Taliban and the administration of former president Donald Trump in Qatar last year, foreign forces were to have left Afghanistan by May 1.

US President Joe Biden, however, pushed back the May 1 deadline, saying his administration would be completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Defense Department officials and diplomats say the US military now faces a range of logistical challenges as it packs up to leave Afghanistan. All foreign troops were being taken to Bagram, the biggest US base in Afghanistan, and from there they would depart for their respective countries.

Since the US withdrawal deal was struck, the Taliban have not directly engaged the US-led foreign troops, but have mercilessly attacked government forces across different parts of the country.

The United States has also ordered non-essential staff at its embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, to leave due to alleged threats.

The US attacked Afghanistan in 2001, claiming that the Taliban were harboring al-Qaeda. The invasion removed a Taliban regime from power but prompted widespread militancy and insecurity across the Asian country.


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