Commanders among 47 rebels dead in Helmand offensive
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): At least 47 insurgents, including five commanders, were killed and Taliban pushed back from parts of southern Helmand province, officials said on Saturday.
The militants suffered the fatalities in joint operations by Afghan and NATO forces, which come amidst intensified insurgent attacks around Lashkargah, the provincial capital.
Lt. Col. Mohammad Rassoul Zazai, the 215th Maiwand Corps spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News Afghan Special Forces launched ground offensives in Babaji, Charbagh and Khudai Rahim areas.
The overnight ground operations were supported by airstrikes, Zazai said, adding notorious Taliban commanders Mullah Kamil, Abdul Rahman, Mullah Hidayatullah, Qari Gulalai and Hashemi were among the dead.
He insisted the Taliban were on the verge of defeat in the province and threats to Lashkargah had been warded off.
Salam Khan, a resident of Nad Ali district, said foreign forces launched airstrikes on Taliban positions at midnight and the raid lasted until early morning. Most of the families have left their homes and some fighters could still be seen roaming about the locality.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, Taliban’s spokesman, said Babaji, Lomanda, Lochak, Kofka and 31 Gharbi localities were still under their control. He rejected claims the group had suffered heavy casualties.
Earlier, officials in Helmand had said some foreign forces and special police units had arrived in Lashkargah to launch clearing operations against insurgents.
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