KABUL, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The government of Afghanistan began exerting pressure on the Taliban militants as 70 insurgents have been killed in Taliban hotbed the southern region since Friday.
In the latest offensive against Taliban militants, Afghan security forces stormed Taliban hideout in Taliban former stronghold the southern Zabul province killing seven fighters including their commander, Interior Ministry said in a statement released here on Saturday.
"Acting upon intelligence report, the units of police raided Taliban hideout in Dalai village of Shamalzai district early Saturday morning killing seven rebels including a key commander Mullah Abdul Qadir," the statement said.
It didn't say if there were any casualties on the police personnel.
Mullah Qadir, according to the locals was an important commander and his elimination could be a major setback to the Taliban militants in Zabul and adjoining areas.
The Afghan security forces in a similar crackdown a day earlier on Friday targeted Taliban militants in the neighboring Ghazni province killing 63 insurgents and wounding 41 others, an army spokesman Nazif Sultani said.
"As part of exerting pressure against Taliban militants, the security forces launched crackdown in parts of Gilan district in Ghazni province on late Friday night and so far today (Saturday) 63 Taliban rebels have been killed and 41 others sustained injuries," Sultani told Xinhua.
The security personnel have also seized a large number of arms and ammunitions during the operations, the official went on to say.
On the other hand, Taliban militants have claimed killing dozens of Afghan security personnel across the country over the past two days.
Exerting military pressure against Taliban militants is taking place in the wake of Taliban announcement to kick off their spring offensive from May 12 across the conflict-ridden country.
"The spring operation code named 'Khyber' will be launched at 05:00 a.m. local time on Monday May 12, 2014 across Afghanistan against invading forces with the objective to get the country's freedom from infields," a statement posted on Taliban outfit's website on Thursday said.
"All foreign invading forces, their spies, their interpreters, their civilian and military contractors and anyone supporting foreign invasion is legitimate targets and will be attacked," the Taliban statement added.
"Ranking government officials, cabinet members, members of parliament, and security personnel, judges, prosecutors and members of security agency are legitimate targets," the statement further said.
Meanwhile, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi in talks with local media has termed the Taliban announcement for launching spring offensive as mere propaganda and downplayed it.