Afghan authorities said Sunday that almost 100 Taliban-linked militants were taken out of action -- killed, captured or wounded -- in a day of operations by Afghan forces helped by their NATO allies.
The casualties were inflicted in multiple operations across the troubled country at the weekend, said the interior ministry, which controls the police and leads anti-Taliban forces along with the defense ministry.
The operations, mostly in the Taliban-infested south and east, came as the Islamist Taliban militants increased attacks as part of their annual spring offensive, which heralds what is called the “fighting season”.
“As the season changes we will have more fighting than in winter,” Defense Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi warned last week.
Violence picks up in the warmer spring and summer months as snow melts in mountainous passages along the Pakistan border where Afghan authorities and NATO forces say most Taliban leaders are hiding.
The rebels were taken out of action in 11 operations, including one in the capital Kabul, with a total of 47 killed, 31 wounded and 21 captured, the ministry said in a statement, without giving further details.
“Also, during these operations, Afghan National Police discovered and confiscated amounts of light and heavy weapons,” the statement added.
NATO has some 130,000 troops supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai against the Taliban insurgency, but they will pull out by the end of 2014, handing control of security to Afghan forces.