KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, May 2 (Xinhua) — Military operations for reopening key road linking Kandahar province to Uruzgan in south Afghanistan have been continuing over the past week as 45 Taliban militants including a shadowy provincial governor and a few local commanders have been killed since Sunday, police said Monday.
“Taliban shadowy governor for Kandahar province Mawlawi Hayatullah nicknamed Hajji Lala and his deputy Mawlawi Ahmad Shah Humat are among 45 Taliban rebels who have been killed in clash erupted on Sunday for the control of Kandahar-Uruzgan highway,” Durani told Xinhua.
Mawlawi Hayatullah, according to the official, was a key Taliban leader in the southern region and his physical elimination could be a major blow to the Taliban fighters in Kandahar and neighboring provinces of Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan.
Taliban militants strengthened their position on the major road linking Kandahar to Uruzgan province and disrupted traffic movement. However, Afghan security forces launched offensive couple of days ago to reopen the essential highway.
“The Kandahar-Uruzgan highway would soon be reopened,” Durani said.
However, he added that the Taliban militants had mined to roads and sweeping the mines would take time.
Taliban militants in surprise offensive some 10 days ago overrun 25 security checkpoints on the key road linking Kandahar to Uruzgan and disrupted traffic, creating problems for government to supply troops in Uruzgan.
The major road, according to local observers, is essential and regarded as lifeline for Uruzgan, Daikundi and Helmand provinces.
“From both military and economic angle, the Kandahar-Uruzgan road is important. In term of economy if the government fails to reopen it, the prices of basic needs and kitchen items would go up in Uruzgan, Helmand and Daikundi,” local analyst Abdul Manan Arghand told Xinhua.
He also observed that closure of the highway could undermine the logistic entities of government to supply military bases in the said provinces.
Meantime, army spokesman in the southern region Sadiq Eisa in talks with Xinhua said that the operation for reopening Kandahar-Uruzgan highway which begun six days ago is going on smoothly.
Dozens of Taliban militants including some important commanders have been killed over the past six days, Eisa said, adding the major highway would soon be reopened.
Taliban outfit, however, without commenting on the situation on Kandahar-Uruzgan road, has claimed killing more than a dozen security personnel in Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand and Uruzgan provinces over the few days.
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