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More than 100 dead in southern Afghanistan clashes

MORE THAN 100 DEAD IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN CLASHES

More than 100 people, including 80 suspected Taliban militants and 24 soldiers have been killed since clashes began in southern Uruzgan province last week, according to regional district official Thursday.

The clashes began when a large group of Taliban fighters had stormed Chora district of Uruzgan province lying in the middle of restive Ghazni, Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

Afghan military forces managed to repulse this coordinate attack on the district late Wednesday after six days of intense fighting, District Governor Amenullah Khaliqi told Anadolu Agency.

"Groups of Taliban from Kandahar and Zabul provinces joined the local Taliban to wage attacks on security checkpoints here [in Chora district]; 18 soldiers [of Afghan National Army] and six policemen and 80 Taliban members have been killed in clashes," Khaliqi stated.

The Ministry of Defense in capital Kabul, however, did not give a death toll and only said security personnel had sustained casualties in countering the Taliban in Chora district.

Meanwhile, Brig. Rehmat Shah, who is the military commander in Chora district, told Pashto radio Azadi on Thursday that air-and-ground offensives against the Taliban would go on to completely clear the area of militants.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmad said the attack was part of an ongoing annual offensive -- "Mansouri" -- a title that refers to the slain Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in southern Pakistan's Balochistan province while returning from Iran on May 21, 2016. In a statement, Ahmad said "tens" of Afghan soldiers had been killed in Chora which he claimed remains under siege of Taliban.

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