KABUL Taliban fighters have captured the essential district of Sangin in the southern Afghan province of Helmand following stability forces pulled out, leaving the district heart to the insurgents, officers mentioned on Thursday.
Helmand, which accounts for the bulk of Afghanistan’s billion greenback opium crop, is currently mainly in the hands of the Taliban but the capture of Sangin, where U.S. and British forces experienced large casualties, underlines their increasing toughness in the south.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi mentioned Taliban fighters had captured police headquarters and a military services foundation right away, as well as quantities of military services products following they were being abandoned by retreating federal government forces.
He mentioned the region had been bombarded by foreign forces next the withdrawal of Afghan troops and police, triggering large problems to structures and infrastructure.
Omar Zwak, the provincial governor’s spokesman, mentioned stability forces had carried out a tactical withdrawal some a few km from the district heart to avoid civilian casualties.
Abdul Majid Akhondzada, deputy provincial council chief of Helmand, confirmed that following the retreat, air strikes strike the district to destroy military services products still left powering.
With U.S. President Donald Trump nevertheless to announce a new Afghanistan system, the loss of Sangin underlines the obstacle dealing with the western-backed federal government and its international associates.
The major U.S. commander in the country, Gen. John Nicholson, mentioned previous thirty day period that Afghanistan was in a “stalemate” and thousands extra international troops would be necessary to enhance the present NATO-led coaching and advisory mission.
In accordance to U.S. estimates, federal government forces now manage less than 60 percent of Afghanistan, with almost fifty percent the country possibly contested or underneath the manage of the insurgents, who are trying to find to reimpose Islamic regulation following their 2001 ouster.
(Reporting by Mohammad Stanekzai and Hamid Shalizi Wriging by James Mackenzie Editing by Nick Macfie)