Security forces killed more than 40 Taliban rebels in operations in western Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday, as sweeps continued of militant hotspots ahead of August elections.
Twenty-five Taliban were killed yesterday in the troubled northwestern Badghis province, on the border with Turkmenistan, in an operation that involved Afghan security forces and NATO troops, the military said.
Another 10 were wounded, said Afghan army spokesman for the western region, Abdul Basir Ghori.
"The operation will continue until the end of elections and also until the ring road from Faryab to Herat is completed," he said, referring to a road between two centres in the west.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said a "significant number of insurgents" were killed and wounded in the sweep involving Italian and Afghan soldiers in the Bala Murghab area.
Two helicopters were struck by insurgent gunfire but no security forces were hurt, it said.
In the southwestern province of Farah yesterday, Afghan security forces killed 16 militants including a man who appeared to be an Arab commander, a deputy provincial governor said.
The fighting was in Bala Buluk district, where US air strikes on militants struck compounds last month. Kabul says 140 civilians were killed then; the US military says 20-30 died.