Kabul:  At least 18 Taliban militants were killed and 23 arrested in a countrywide operation in Afghanistan, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

Joint forces of police, Army and NATO troops launched nine "cleanup operations" in Nuristan, Parwan, Baghlan, Badakhshan, Kandahar, Helmand, logar, Ghazni and Khost provinces.

The ministry did not say if there were any casualties on the side of the security forces.

The Taliban announced May 2 that they would launch a spring offensive, targeting Afghan forces as well as US and NATO troops across the country.

(Agencies)

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