KABUL, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Twenty militants were killed, five wounded and nine others arrested during operations in several Afghan provinces since Friday morning, said the Afghan Interior Ministry earlier on Saturday.
"Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) conducted several cleanup operations with the cooperation of Coalition Forces in Laghman, Baghlan, Kunduz, Kandahar, Zabul, Herat, Badghis and Helmand provinces over the last 24 hours. As a result 20 armed Taliban were killed, five wounded and nine others were arrested by the ANSF," the ministry said in a statement.
The Taliban insurgent group, which is fighting an insurgency in its 12th year, has yet to make comments.
In an unrelated development, unknown armed men shot dead five civilians in northern Afghan province of Kunduz Friday.
"The gunmen opened fire on a vehicle running along a main road in Aliabad district late Friday, killing three women, one child and one man travelling in the vehicle," the district administrative chief of Aliabad Mahbubullah Sayedi told Xinhua, adding authorities have launched an investigation to find the motive behind the shooting.
Up to 1,319 civilians were killed and 2,533 injured in conflict- related violence in the first half of the year, a 23 percent rise in overall civilian casualties compared with last year, according to a UN report released in Kabul late last month.