Taliban-led militancy and counter-militancy have got new impetus in Taliban former stronghold southern Helmand province as 27 militants have been killed and both sides have been fighting to gain more grounds.
The ongoing conflict claimed 12 lives of Taliban fighters outside Helmand provincial capital Lashkar Gah as government aircrafts targeted militants' hideout on Sunday, an army spokesman in the province Brigadier Mohammad Rasoul Zazai said.
"Acting upon intelligence report the warplanes pounded Taliban hideout in Baba Ji area today morning killing 12 insurgents on the spot," Zazai told Xinhua.
Three more insurgents sustained injuries in the air raid, the official added.
Baba Ji is a strategically important area just outside Helmand's provincial capital Lashkar Gah.
The capture of Baba Ji, according to Afghan military and political observers would pave the way for Taliban insurgents to influence and destabilize Lashkar Gah city.
Taliban militants have been challenging government forces in parts of Helmand province over the past couple of years.
To stabilize security in the troubled Helmand, the government forces launched cleanup operations in Nad Ali, Baba Ji, Kunjak and Gereshk districts over the past week, which are continuing.
Taliban militants, however, in online statement confirmed the clash, insisting that the militants have inflicted casualties on government forces in Baba Ji and Nad Ali districts.
Moreover, Helmand police in a statement sent to media outlets on Sunday said 15 Taliban militants were killed over the past four days.
The operations, which covered Baba Ji, Malgir, Loimanda, Shawal, Sistani and Nahr-e-Saraj areas would last until returning lasting peace in the said vicinities, the statement asserted.
Notorious for growing poppy and insurgency, Helmand has been regarded as Taliban hotbed in southern Afghanistan.