KABUL, March 7 (Xinhua) -- At least 32 militants have been killed and 23 others wounded during clashes and airstrikes within the past 24 hours amid the escalation of violence across the country, the Afghan authorities said on Sunday.
In southern Kandahar province, 13 Taliban militants were killed and seven others wounded during military operations conducted by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in Arghandab, Panjwai, and Zerai districts, the Afghan Defense Ministry said.
The Afghan Air Force (AAF) supported the ground forces during the operations. The ANDSF forces also destroyed a vehicle carrying a heavy machine gun, and a number of weapons and ammunition, the ministry said in a statement.
The engineering teams of the army also found and defused 50 rounds of landmine and home-made improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Arghandab of Kandahar, according to the statement.
In neighboring Mianshin district, seven Taliban were killed, three wounded, and their weapons and ammunition were destroyed by airstrikes conducted by AAF on Saturday, the army's 203 Thandar Corps confirmed earlier in the day.
"The ANDSF targeted militants' positions in Obe, Pashton Zarghon districts of western Herat province, killing four militants and wounding seven others, besides destroying some amount of militants' weapons and ammunition," an army source in the western region told Xinhua.
In northern Balkh province, five Taliban militants, including Mawlawi Belal, a Taliban shadow deputy district chief for Chahar Bolak district, were killed after ANDSF targeted the militants in Chimtal district, Hanif Rezai, spokesman of army Corps 209 Shaheen, told Xinhua.
Six militants were wounded during the clashes, he added.
The authorities did not mention if there were any casualties on the side of security forces during the period.
In addition, three Taliban militants were killed after an IED they were planting on a district road exploded prematurely in Nijrab district of eastern Kapisa province on Saturday afternoon, provincial police spokesman Shahiq Shourash told Xinhua earlier on Sunday.
Violence lingers in the war-torn country even as peace talks between the Afghan government delegation and Taliban representatives are being held in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar.
The negotiations were launched in early September to find a peaceful solution to the prolonged Afghan conflict, but no tangible progress has been reported yet.