Militants driven from strongholds in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (PAN): Insurgents have been pushed back from three key strongholds during an ongoing joint military operation codenamed "Omaid" (hope) in southern Zabul province, an official said on Monday.
Launched three months ago, the offensive by Afghan army soldiers and International Security Assistance Force servicemembers targeted parts of Nad Ali and Greshk districts.
The 215th Maiwand Military Corps commander, Brig. Gen. Shirin Shah, told a press conference in Lashkargah the operation, entering its seventh phase, was not only confined to military objectives.
Flanked by Afghan security officials and the British troops' commander in the south, Shah said the offensive was aimed at paving the ground of developmental activities in areas cleared of militants.
He added a number of schools closed by the insurgents had been reopened. Since there were no clashes, there was no exodus, the commander continued.
New security check-posts had been established in areas cleared of fighters to keep them from falling back into the hands of the Taliban, the general said.
He said the rebels were still present in these areas, but lacked the courage to face the security forces. The operation would be extended to other parts infested with insurgents, Shah promised.
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