14 killed in ongoing Afghan military operation in western province

Kabul, Oct. 23 (Xinhua-ANI): Over a dozen people, including two high-ranking police officials, were killed in an ongoing military operation in western Afghan province of Herat, authorities said on Tuesday.

"A joint operation was launched by Afghan police and army to clear areas in Obe and neighboring Cheshti Sharif districts Monday afternoon," administrative district chief of Obe, Najibullah Ahmadi, told Xinhua.

He said the district police chief of Obe named Basmillah Khan and acting police district chief of Cheshti Sharif were killed in the ongoing operation.

The killed also include five Afghan army, three policemen and four Taliban militants, Ahmadi said.

"The Taliban's shadowy district chief of Obe namely Mullah Shouib was among the killed and another Taliban local leader namely Mullah Hismat was wounded in the raid," Ahmadi added.

The Taliban insurgent group, which has been waging an insurgency of more than one decade, has yet to confirm the death of the insurgent leader.

Up to eight members of army and police have been wounded during the operation, Ahmadi said.

These remote districts, lying in western part of Herat province, have been regarded as Taliban stronghold in the province 640 km west of capital Kabul.

Afghan forces took over the security charges in provincial capital Herat city and other parts of Herat recently from the NATO- led coalition troops, as part of a security transition plan that lasts till 2014 when Afghanistan is due to take over the full security duties from foreign forces.

Earlier Tuesday morning, the country's Interior Ministry confirmed in a statement that Afghan police and army, backed by the NATO-led coalition forces, have killed two armed Taliban insurgents and detained 12 other armed suspects in seven military operations launched in Kabul, Nangarhar, Paktia, Balkh, Kandahar, Helmand and Logar provinces within the past 24 hours.

Violence has been on the rise since Taliban launched an annual spring offensive on May 3. (Xinhua-ANI)