KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Officials in Afghanistan say security forces have killed nearly 50 armed insurgents in the past two days, including two Taliban commanders.
"Acting upon intelligence report and having identified the hideout of Taliban key commander Mullah Ashrafullah, in Ghazi Abad district of Kunar province, the security forces conducted a precise drone attack and killed him on the spot," Xinhua news agency quoted Abdul Habib Sayedkhili, police chief of Kunar province, as saying Tuesday.
The Chinese state news service also quoted Qasim Jangalbagh, police chief of Kunduz province, as saying Taliban commander Mawlawi Abdul Qahar was killed in an ambush sprung by security forces in the Bagh-e-Shirkat area of the province Tuesday morning.
The attacks come as Afghan police and military forces conduct a joint operation with the National Directorate of Security, the country's intelligence service, across various portions of Afghanistan.
The Afghan interior ministry released a statement Tuesday indicating Afghan security forces had killed at least 13 armed insurgents and wounded another 10 in the last 24 hours during clearing operations in Laghman, Takhar, Kunduz, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Jowzjan, Kandahar, Oruzgan, Logar, Ghazni and Helmand provinces.
On Monday, it released a similar statement claiming 34 armed insurgents were killed and 16 others wounded during counter-terrorism operations in the same areas and also in the Zabul, Maidan Wardak, Khost and Paktika provinces.
The Taliban meanwhile have remained silent about Tuesday's announcement, but in an online statement the militants reportedly claimed to have killed and injured 12 security personnel while capturing two tanks, weapons, ammunition and several villages in the Qaisar district of the northern Faryab province Monday night.
Afghanistan's military has fought back-and-forth battles with the Taliban since coalition forces officially handed the security operation to Afghan forces in December 2014.
A NATO force of about 12,000 troops remains in the country to conduct training and support missions, but attacks against Afghan police and soldiers saw a sharp rise in 2015, with U.S. and Afghan officials estimating in June about 330 security personnel were being killed or wounded each week.
The Taliban meanwhile have been able to seize ground but not hold it for a substantial amount of time. On Aug. 30, Afghan forces, backed by U.S. air power, recaptured the Helmand province district of Musa Qala after it was seized by Taliban forces the week prior. Taliban militants in June claimed to have killed dozens of police officers at lightly-manned checkpoints in the same district.
Afghan officials say the Taliban's goal is not to maintain control of territory but to send a propaganda message that such areas are vulnerable to attack.