By Shadi Khan Saif
At least 17 Afghan soldiers were killed in a clash with pro-Daesh rebels in the eastern Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan, an Afghan provincial official confirmed Friday.
The overnight clash also left a number of soldiers injured, Zabehullah Zmaray, secretary of the provincial council, told Anadolu Agency.
Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, confirmed that the Afghan National Army (ANA) check post in the Mia Baba area of the Haska Maina district came under attack Thursday night. He did not give any information about the number of casualties, but said investigations were underway.
On Sunday, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) -- with U.S. air support -- launched an operation against the militants in the Haska Maina and Kot districts which are considered the strongholds of the pro-Daesh rebels, many of whom are said to have either crossed the border from Pakistan, the Central Asian republics or switched allegiance from the Afghan Taliban to the Daesh.
Afghan security officials have vowed to continue the operation until the rebels are completely eliminated from this part of the country. Prior to this comprehensive operation, the ANSF conducted a number of raids against the militants in which tens of rebels, including many top commanders have been reported dead.
Syed Aqa Gul Rohani, a top Afghan National Police (ANP) commander in the province told journalists in the provincial capital Jalalabad on Friday that 120 militants were killed, 30 more wounded and 73 arrested in one month.
Cpt. Bill Salvin, Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday that they believe there are currently about 700 Daesh fighters located in Nangarhar with about 200-300 additional fighters in Kunar province.