KABUL, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — Up to 40 people including nine security personnel have been killed in Afghanistan over the past two days as both government forces and the Taliban outfit have intensified operations against each other, officials said Saturday. 
Fighting between government forces and the Taliban fighters in the northern Sari Pul province has left seven insurgents and three security personnel dead on Saturday, a spokesman for Afghan army in the northern region Mohammad Hanif Rezai said. 
According to Rezai, a group of Taliban fighters attacked security checkpoints in Baghawi, a suburban area of Sari Pul city, on Saturday morning, triggering fierce fighting which resulted in the death of seven militants and three security personnel. 
Nine more militants and four security personnel have been injured in the fighting, Rezai said, adding crackdown against militants has been continuing to clean up the restive area. 
Similarly, fighting between government forces and the Taliban militants had left eight Taliban fighters and six security personnel dead in Khawja Ghar district of the northern Takhar province on Saturday, district governor Mohammad Omar has confirmed. 
The government forces, however, have killed 16 Taliban fighters in Qarabagh and Muqar districts of the eastern Ghazni province since Friday, provincial government spokesman Aref Nuri said Saturday. 
The government troops, according to security officials, would continue to keep pressure on the militants to reduce their ability and gain more ground in the chilly winter. 
However, the Taliban commanders, according to media reports, have vowed to increase activities against government forces in the freezing winter to consolidate positions ahead of the spring offensives. Enditem