47 rebels, 5 policemen dead in Sangin battles
LASHKARGAH (PAN): As many as 47 insurgents and five policemen have so far been killed during deadly clashes entering a third day on Wednesday in the Sangin district of southern Helmand province, the governor said.
Mohammad Naeem told a news conference in Lashkargah 47 militants and five policemen had been killed and 18 insurgents and nine security personnel wounded in the clashes that began on Monday when a large group of insurgents launched attacks on security posts in various parts of the town.
The governor said the dead rebels included some commanders, saying the full-pledged attacks by the insurgents were their last ditch effort to capture the town, but failed.
He added many insurgents from Kandahar had sneaked into Helmand to join their comrades in their attacks on Afghan security forces who successfully pushed them back.
He said foreign militants fought alongside hundreds of Taliban insurgents during the coordinated attacks targeting security forces in 13 areas.
But the US-led coalition has said the Taliban force totaled 80 to 100 fighters and managed to launch only sporadic attacks on outlying police posts in the district.
Naeem said the insurgents had advanced in some areas, but they were pushed back by Afghan forces, who were putting up stiff resistance.
ISAF airlifted wounded policemen to hospitals, but did not take part in the clashes to support Afghan forces, the governor said, saying Afghan forces would soon clear the areas of insurgents.
The coordinated assaults were aimed at preventing a road from being asphalted in the area and halting reconstruction work at the Kajaki hydropower dam, Naeem said.
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