Afghan forces thwart major Taliban assault in north
Afghan security forces have foiled a major Taliban assault on a number of check posts in strategic Baghlan province, killing at least 16 militants, officials said on Wednesday.
Four policemen were also killed in clashes with the militants.
Lying north of Kabul, Baghlan links the capital city with rest of the northern provinces and beyond with the Central Asian states.
The militants waged coordinated group assaults on a number of security check posts on the main highway on Tuesday, and kept the security forces engaged till late evening.
According to local officials, the Taliban militants were able to attack township in the Baghlan Markazi district, and torched houses of pro-government provincial council members and local commander of the Hezb-e-Islami (HI) led by former Mujahedeen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Shamsul Haq, a member of the provincial council, told Anadolu Agency the main highway remained closed for many hours as the militants and the ANSF exchanged fire.
Zabehullah Shuja, spokesman for the provincial police headquarters, said on Wednesday the highway and adjacent areas have been cleared.
"16 armed Taliban militants have been killed and 27 other wounded while four of security personnel martyred and three others got wounded", he said.
Meanwhile, the Taliban, on their part, have made claim about "strengthening control over the gate to the north".
In a message posted on their official website, the militants noted that 'a large number' of soldiers, policemen and pro-government militia members have been killed.
It added they overrun two check posts and destroyed two armored vehicles.