KABUL - More than 40 fighters, mostly militants, have been killed in clashes between security forces and the Taliban outfit in conflict-plagued Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, officials said Wednesday. At least three Taliban fighters and four pro-government militias were killed as clash erupted in Ruyi Duab district of the northern Samangan province Wednesday morning, Deputy to Provincial Council, Mohammad Hashim Sarwari said.

According to the official, sporadic fighting was continuing. Fighting between security forces and the Taliban fighters in Kuran-o-Manjan district of the northern Badakhshan province Wednesday has left 10 militants dead and injured five others, army spokesman Ghulam Hazrat Karimi said.

 Two pro-government militias were killed in the fighting, Karimi said. A Taliban fighter and a police constable were reported killed and two militants sustained injuries as clash erupted in Dandara area of Pashtun Kot district in the northern Faryab province on Tuesday, provincial police spokesman Abdul Karim Yurash said.

Meanwhile, Afghan Defense Ministry in a statement Wednesday said eight militants were killed in Nawbahar district and adjoining areas of the southern Zabul province over the past 24 hours.

A total of 17 militants including a key commander and shadow district chief Mawlawi Abdul Razaq were killed and 13 others injured in Dasht-e-Qala district of the northern Takhar province since late Tuesday night, said an army statement Wednesday.

Fighting has increased in the militancy-battered Afghanistan since April 12 when the Taliban outfit launched its annual spring offensive and the armed group intensified targeting government interests in the country.