Clashes kill over 70 in Afghanistan within 24 hours

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KABUL, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — Increasing militancy and counter-militancy have claimed lives of more than 70 people in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, officials said Sunday.

In the latest waves of bloody clashes erupted between security forces and Taliban insurgents in Aqcha district of the northern Jawzjan province early Sunday and lasted for several hours, 16 people including nine militants and seven security personnel were killed, district governor Ghulam Sakhi Subhani said.

A clash between government forces and Taliban militants killed 13 armed militants and three security personnel in Imam Sahib district of the northern Kunduz province, district governor Mahboubullah Sayedi has confirmed.

The clash, according to Sayedi, flared up with Taliban attacks on security checkpoints in Kunjak area on Saturday night and lasted for several hours, also left six militants and one security personnel injured.

In another case, eight Taliban fighters were killed and 12 others injured after government forces stormed a Taliban hideout in Arghandab district of the southern Zabul province on Saturday night, an army statement said Sunday.

Another statement of the national army released Sunday also reported military operations, which killed 15 militants outside Tirin Kot, the capital of southern Uruzgan province on Saturday.

Twelve militants, according army spokesman Mohammad Hanif Rezai, were killed after military aircraft pounded a Taliban motorbike convoy in northern Balkh province on Saturday.

However, a Taliban deadly attack on a police station in the western Herat province on Saturday evening left six people including two civilians dead.

The government forces have intensified operations against militant groups during the freezing winter in Afghanistan, observers said.