By Shadi Khan Saif
The Defense Ministry announced Sunday 171 terrorists were killed during counter-terror operations across Afghanistan, a day after Taliban ambushed a number of Afghan soldiers in Farah province, bordering Iran.
The sudden rise in casualties on both sides highlights the surge in violence in the war-ravaged country with the end of winter break.
Maj. Gen. Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said in a statement, 171 terrorists have been killed in air and ground offensives in the capital Kabul, Kandahar, Takhar, Farah, Helmand, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa and Ghazni provinces.
“Currently, the security and defense forces are engaged in 13 offensives against the terrorists in 10 provinces of the country while the commando forces have conducted 29 separate offensives in different provinces," he said.
On Saturday, the Defense Ministry confirmed four soldiers were killed in an attack in Bala Balook district in Farah, however, local Tolo News quoted Farid Bakhtawari, chairman of the provincial assembly, saying 15 soldiers were killed.
Last month, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani took a bold move to extend an olive branch to the Taliban, but the rebels have so far not publicly announced their stance towards this offer.