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Afghan forces kill 17 militants as clash continues for control of northern district

2017-08-13 16:29:29 (Beijing Time)         news.xinhuanet.com

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SARI PUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Seventeen militants including two of their senior commanders have been killed and five others injured during Afghan forces operations to reclaim Mirza Olang district of northern Sari Pul province from insurgents, an official said Sunday.

Launched Saturday night to evict militants and recapture the strategically important Mirza Olang, according to police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, some villages have been liberated and the militants are in the run.

Militants loyal to the hardliner Islamic State and Taliban outfits launched joint operations in Mirza Olang area last week, killing at least 50 civilians including women and children and forcing hundreds others to flee their houses.

Taliban outfit has refused its involvement in the massacre. However, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has vowed to avenge the killing of civilians by militants in Mirza Olang and assured to restore law and order in the conflict-affected area.

Meanwhile, the displaced families said they won't return to their houses in Mirza Olang unless and until the area is completely safe and secure from militants threats.