Over 170 militants killed in Afghanistan over past day

A member of the Afghan security forces

Taliban insurgents have taken control of a district headquarters in the western Afghan province of Farah, a provincial official says.

A total of 171 militants were killed as a result of anti-terror operations in 10 provinces of Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, the country's Defense Ministry said on Sunday in a statement, Sputnik reported. He added that the casualty numbers could rise battle was still intense.

Although no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, Bakhtawer said Taliban fighters had conducted the raid, hitting the district police and administrative offices from severaldirections.

Over the weekend, a Taliban attack killed seven army commandos and eight policemen in Bala Buluk district.

Six other police officers were killed in a separate assault in the provincial capital.

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Rahimi said 56 militants were killed and dozens of others were injured in the air strikes.

The attack triggered a deadly skirmish between fighters from the militant movement and security forces.

"There were about 300 fighters that attacked the headquarters early this morning, but security forces are now fighting them back and we are hoping that the area will be cleared off soon", Farid Bakhtawar, head of the provincial council, told Al Jazeera.

Afghan and U.S. commanders have been relatively upbeat about the course of the war since U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new and more robust military strategy previous year, with more air strikes and greater support for Afghan forces.

With the approach of milder spring weather, security officials have said they expect fighting to surge as the Taliban, fighting to drive out worldwide forces and re-impose their version of strict Islamic law, step up pressure.

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