KABUL - Militancy and counter-militancy have left 39 people dead, mostly the armed opposition fighters, in the conflict-riddled Afghanistan over the past two days, officials said on Friday.

In the latest wave of violence, 16 people including six security personnel and 10 militants have lost their lives as clash erupted in Dasht-e-Archi district of the northern Kunduz province on Friday, district governor Nasrudin Nazari said.

According to the official, eight more security personnel have been injured in the fighting.

Similarly, the government forces, in crackdown against the militants, launched airstrikes on Taliban hideouts in Ghormach district of the northern Faryab province on Thursday, killing 10 militants including a Taliban key commander Qari Nasir alias Ansar, provincial police spokesman Abdul Karim Yurash reported Friday.

Moreover, reports emanating from the troubled Faryab province confirm the dead of 13 people including four civilians and nine insurgents due to a mine blast on Thursday.

Police spokesman in the northern region Sayed Sarwar Hussaini asserted Friday that a Taliban mine exploded accidentally in Namusi area of Pashtunkot district, Faryab province on Thursday evening, killing 13 people including four civilians and nine insurgents on the spot and injured few others.

However, locals put the number of casualties as high as 16 including 11 insurgents.

Both the anti-government militants and the government forces, according to Afghan observers, would do their best to gain ground and consolidate positions ahead of icy winter in the mountainous country.

TALIBAN RESTORE RED

CROSS PROTECTION

The Taliban have restored protection for the Red Cross in areas under its control in Afghanistan after withdrawing it in August, local media said Friday.

The group said safe passage and security guarantees were granted to all humanitarian agencies operating in the country after two days of talks with the Red Cross in the Qatari capital, according to Pajhwok Afghan News.

"We welcome the acknowledgment of our humanitarian principles and the renewal of our security guarantees in Afghanistan," ICRC delegation chief in Afghanistan Juan-Pedro Schaerer tweeted.

The Taliban accused the aid charity in August of failing to help its prisoners in a Kabul jail. In return for protections for its staff, the Red Cross promised to address concerns of the militant group.