PUL-E-KHUMRI, Afghanistan, April 19 (Xinhua) -- At least 22 militants, including a Taliban shadow governor, were killed when Afghan security forces carried out an operation in the northern province of Baghlan overnight, the country's Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
"On specific intelligence inputs, army's commandos supported by air force launched a night raid operation in Dand-e-Ghuri District, Baghlan province, Tuesday night. As a result, 22 Taliban (militants) were killed and three others detained," it said in a statement.
Among the killed were Maulawi Helel alias Lal Mohammad, the Taliban shadow governor for Baghlan, and four other Taliban local commanders, the statement said.
The security forces seized one AK-47 gun and two rounds of pistol besides destroying a vehicle during the operation.
Baghlan province, as well as neighboring Kunduz and Takhar provinces, has been the scene of heavy clashes over the past couple of months as Taliban has been trying to challenge the government forces in the once relatively peaceful region.
The Taliban has reportedly confirmed the loss of its local leader Helel in the province, 160 km north of Kabul, according to local media reports.
The Afghan security forces have beefed up security operations against militants recently as spring and summer, known as fighting season, are drawing near in the Central Asian country.