Afghan forces combat Taliban in three Helmand districts

Afghan government forces clash with Taliban militants, threatening to capture three key strategic districts in Helmand province

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers patrol at an outpost in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Updated Jan 20, 2016

Government forces continue to fight with Taliban militants on Tuesday, who are trying to seize three substantial districts in Afghanistan's province of Helmand.

The Taliban has been pushing to take over the region, which is known as a centre of opium cultivation, since the withdrawal of international troops from combat last year.

The Afghan government dispatched additional reinforcements to protect the districts of Gereshk, Sangin and Marjah around the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, Helmand's police chief, Abdul Rahman Sarjang said.

According to his statements, some of the fighting took place near the main highway linking the major southern city of Kandahar with the western city of Herat.

"The Taliban are putting all their efforts," Sarjang said.

"We have received some reinforcements and we will get more soon."

Helmand has been the scene of clashes between militants and security forces over the last seven months. Security forces stationed in Helmand have complained in the past about being abandoned by their US-backed government.

A spokesman for the provincial governor, Omar Zwak, said that the major issue security forces face is hit-and-run attacks by the Taliban, which occurs when reinforcements move from one district to another.

"They usually attack the weak places and exploit the gaps in our security," he said.

The Helmand crisis has piled pressure on President Ashraf Ghani after the fall of the northern city of Kunduz in September, which the Taliban had took control of for a couple of days.

Reuters, TRTWorld and agencies