news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | September 26, 2014 | 11:53 pm IST

Kabul/New Delhi: Taliban forces have decapitated 12 to 15 people, both men and women, during an offensive in Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan, an official source told Spanish news agency Efe on Friday.

"Between 12 to 15 people have been beheaded in Ajristan district by the insurgents during clashes" which "began five days ago and still continue," said the spokesperson of the provincial governor, Shafiq Nang Safi.

He added that the insurgents, who came from the neighbouring provinces of Zabul and Uruzgan, had accused those executed of collaborating with police.

The provincial governor, Musa Khan Akbarzada, confirmed that "many people have died or been hurt," and said although exact figures were unknown they could increase as clashes with security forces continued.

Media reported that Islamic State (IS) militants were participating in the clashes, but officials could not confirm this.

According to a Xinhua report earlier on Friday, Taliban militants have been fighting intense battles in recent days to capture Ajristan district.

"The militants have been fighting to take control of Ajristan district since the weekend. More than 100 security force personnel and civilians have been killed or injured over the period. The security forces repelled a massive attack early Friday morning, and the clash is still going on till the afternoon," Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, deputy provincial governor, told Xinhua.

The Taliban have intensified attacks over the past couple of months as the NATO and US forces are withdrawing from the country. The war-torn country is due to take over the responsibility for its own security from NATO-led troops by the end of the year.

The official also urged the government to urgently dispatch reinforcement troops to the area, adding "if the government fails to send the backup forces to Ajristan, the militants would run over the district headquarters in the coming days".

In southern Uruzgan province, hundreds of militants launched an attack on Gizab district and fired several rockets on Thursday, killing and injuring many security forces personnel and civilians, according to district governor Abdullah Khan.

More than 41,000 NATO-led coalition troops, down from the peak of 130,000 in 2010, are stationed in Afghanistan. Nearly 29,000 of them are Americans and the US plans to trim its forces down to less than 10,000 next year.

With IANS 

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