KABUL, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Afghan security forces have eliminated 15 Taliban militants and captured five suspected terrorists including would-be suicide bombers in the southern region of the country since Saturday, officials said Sunday.
The Taliban militants who have been fighting the government to regain power in their latest attack on government interests targeted a police checkpoint in Ghazni province late Saturday night, triggering gun ballet which lasted until Sunday morning.
"A group of armed Taliban rebels raided a police checkpoint in Jangul area of Abband district, Ghazni province late Saturday night, triggering fierce gun battle which lasted until Sunday morning during which 15 rebels including their key commander named Mullah Alam were killed," governor of Abband district Allah Dad Halimi told Xinhua.
Five of those killed in the firefight were Pakistani nationals, he added.
Meantime, Zabihullah Mujahid who claimed to speak for the Taliban outfit in talks with media via telephone from an unknown location confirmed the conflict, saying two Taliban militants and six police were killed in the fighting.
In another development in neighboring Helmand province, personnel of National Directorate for Security (NDS) or the country's national spy agency arrested five suspected terrorists including suicide bombers.
"Personnel of the NDS have arrested a five-member terrorist group in Khanshin district of Helmand province," said a statement the NDS released here Sunday.
Without mentioning the exact date of the arrest, the agency said its personnel have also discovered a number of arms and ammunition including three explosive-laden motorbikes and nine AK- 47 assault rifles from their possessions.
A local official on condition of anonymity said that the suspected terrorists were captured from Khanshin district on Saturday afternoon.
Notorious for growing poppy and Taliban activities, Helmand has been regarded as the hotbed of Taliban militants in the conflict- ridden Afghanistan.