KABUL -- Operation Shafaq, led by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), has achieved its targets in several provinces and is continuing to clear others of terrorist elements, officials told Salaam Times.
"The targets have been achieved in Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan and Daikundi provinces by killing dozens of insurgents and enemies of peace in the region," Gen. Abdul Raziq, commander of police in Kandahar Province, told Salaam Times.
"We cleared the area of the Taliban by killing many insurgents and saved many people from roadside bombs," he said.
Operation Shafaq aims to clear the Taliban from all the areas in northern Afghanistan where they are active, he said.
The operation began earlier this year and is meant to expel insurgents from other provinces, said Ministry of Defence spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri.
"Forces are helping public to come back to their homes and start a normal life," he told Salaam Times.
The Afghan National Army 205th Hero Corps is participating in the operation in various southern provinces, according to Muhammad Muhsin Sultani, spokesman for the corps.
Troops killed almost 150 insurgents in the past two weeks, he said.
"The brave ANDSF have cleared many areas of Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan and Daikundi, in which insurgents were not allowing the local people to have their normal life," he told Salaam Times.
Corps personnel teamed up with local police and special police forces in the Shawalikot and Maiwand districts of Kandahar as well as in another operation in Zabul in which they killed more than 50 insurgents, Sultani said.
"The ANDSF ... want a peaceful life for all Afghans," Sultani said. "International forces are providing aerial support, and they are targeting all those insurgents who are fighting with Afghan security forces."
Gen. Dawood Shah Wafadar, commander of the 205th Hero Corps, said that he has deployed soldiers to Maiwand District to support police and to wipe out all groups who are trying to make Kandahar insecure.
"We are trying to save the people in Maiwand because the Taliban are using their houses and are taking children and women hostage," he told Salaam Times.
"I want to tell the Taliban that you will never get any province, so why are you killing innocent people?" he said, pledging that the army will not rest until it eliminates the Taliban.
"You can't get this country back," Wafadar said, addressing the Taliban. He urged them to stop making problems to the public and to join peace-making efforts.
The Taliban are trying to take control of many districts and provinces in Afghanistan, but the Afghan security forces are bravely fighting the insurgents, inflicting heavy losses, officials say.
After fierce fighting in Nawa District, Helmand provincial Governor Hayatullah Hayat said Afghan troops killed at least 171 Taliban. The troops will clear all threatened areas, he said.
Meanwhile, Raziq, the Kandahar police commander, recently launched an operation to reopen the highway between Helmand and Kandahar, which fierce fighting had blocked for several days.
The highway will reopen soon, he said.
Operations in Maiwand have achieved great success and troops have evicted insurgents from many areas, Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said, adding that troops are working to eliminate insurgents from the area completely.
Operation Shafaq has the support of locals and tribal elders, Sediqqi said at a joint news conference in September with Baz Mohammad Mubariz, a goodwill ambassador for the Afghan National Police (ANP).
"This is very important for us, that our elders and religious scholars support our national forces and stand with us," Sediqqi said at the news conference.
Everyone has responsibility for supporting the ANDSF, Mubariz said.
"We should participate with the ANDSF to bring peace and stability to our country," he said.
He dedicated his most recent award to the ANP.
Afghan forces are showing the world that they can fight the Taliban, Maiwand District resident Gul Agha Abdali said.
Rahmatullah Solamal, an ANP officer in Kandahar, said he and his fellow officers are serving the nation and hope to eliminate insurgents from the country and bring peace and stability.
"We are proud that every day the public is supporting us and bringing fresh flowers to encourage the national forces," he told Salaam Times.
How likely are the Taliban to hold direct peace talks with the Afghan government before presidential elections in July?