20 militants killed in airstrikes in N. Afghanistan: army
MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan, Aug. 22 -- At least 20 militants have been killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan's northern Balkh province, a local source said Thursday. "Acting on a confirmed intelligence report, Afghan Air Force launched a strike on a Taliban hideout in surrounding areas of Zarah district on Wednesday, killing 20 militants," Hanif Rezai, spokesman of army Corps 209 Shaheen based in the region, told Xinhua. The raid also destroyed 20 motorcycles and an explosive and ammunition depot, the official added. In a separate development, one army soldier and six militants were killed and five soldiers and five militants were wounded during clashes in Balkh district of Balkh province on Wednesday. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces remain in control of most of Afghanistan's population centers and all of 34 provincial capitals, but Taliban insurgents control large portions of rural areas, staging coordinated large-scale attacks against Afghan cities and districts since early April when the militant group launched a yearly rebel offensive. The Taliban militant group has not made a comment on the report yet.