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Afghanistan: 43 militants killed

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 22 (UPI) — Forty-three Taliban fighters died in a massive operation by Afghan forces overnight Friday in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, local authorities say.

Government forces took control of various checkpoints Taliban militants had controlled for the previous week, Khaama Press reported.

Fighting began about 8 p.m. Thursday and lasted until about 3 a.m. Friday, said Dawlat Mohammad Khawaar, the governor of Wardoj district where the clashes occurred.

There were no reports of casualties among Afghan forces or civilians. A Taliban spokesman claimed several Afghan police vehicles were destroyed.

A spokesman for the provincial governor said government soldiers seized weapons and explosives.

Wardoj district has seen numerous clashes between government and militant forces in recent months, causing nearly 300 families to flee the area.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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