Sporadic clashes continue in Afghan province amid pressure on militants

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-26 20:43:22|Editor: huaxia

by Farid Behbud

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- The security situation remained tense in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province as sporadic fighting continued since Taliban militants launched multi-pronged attacks early this month.

On Sunday night, five militants were killed and a Taliban fighting position was destroyed after Afghan Air Force launched an airstrike in Bushran, an area on the outskirts of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, Afghan army's Corps Maiwand 215 confirmed in a statement on Monday.

On Oct. 11, Taliban launched a massive attack and tried to take control of Lashkar Gah but Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) repelled the militants, however, the militants still have the control of Police district 4 and parts of Police District 3 of the city.

Gen. Mohammad Yasin Zia, the army chief of staff, visited Helmand on Sunday and told reporters that the reinforcement security forces who recently arrived in Helmand from Kabul and neighboring provinces would start suppressing operations against the militants soon.

The Helmand province, some 555 km south of Kabul and notorious for growing poppies, is a known Taliban stronghold.

Zia accused the militants of destroying ditches and bridges along a main road connecting Kabul to western and southern provinces, causing difficulties to civilians.

The highway remained close in the past two weeks as security forces abandoned some of security checkpoints along the road, however, some vehicles succeeded in passing the highway over the weekend.

"The Taliban group are not capable of fighting the ANDSF, but have forever tried to insecure the lives of the people by using people houses as trenches," noted Zia.

In the meantime, Governor of Helmand Mohammad Yasin Khan voiced the confidence that the Taliban militants would soon be defeated, the situation soon change in the province, and the displaced people soon return to their homes.

The governor said that due in part to avoiding casualties, the security forces withdrew from outposts and military camps on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah and the Taliban entered the green area.

"But the situation would soon change," he said.

The governor added that over 350 militants, including 50 of militants' divisional commanders, were killed in the recent clashes in Helmand. He gave no details about the security forces casualties.

Speaking to Xinhua, Faiz Mohammad, a member of Afghan special forces, said Taliban militants couldn't resist the special force units.

"They have only hidden roadside mines and explosives, destroying bridges along the roads and showed their last brutality to destroy a mosque in Nahri Sarraj district, as they have no capability to face the special forces," the soldier said.

He said the special forces are expected to retake control of the lost areas soon.

According to official reports more than 40,000 people have been displaced amid the armed clashes in Helmand. Enditem