At least 31 Taliban militants have been killed during clashes with Afghan security forces in the central province of Ghazni.
Afghan officials said Saturday that the gunfights took place in Andar district on Friday while the military was on a mission to protect a key highway.
Two civilians were also killed and four others were injured when a mortar shell struck a home in the district, about 153 kilometers southwest of the capital Kabul.
Mohammad Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the militants were trying to take control of an arterial road and had attacked many security checkpoints.
Noori said security forces managed to push the militants back "from the areas near Ghazni-Paktika highway, but the road is still closed due to serious damages caused by the Taliban." Separately, two militants were killed when explosives went off on a highway in Ghazni.
Three weeks ago, Taliban militants captured Khwaja Omari district in Ghazni, killing its administrator along with at least 14 other people and burning down the district’s headquarters.