Taliban still present in parts of Helmand’s Marja district
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): After 12 days of clashes, parts of the Marja districtof southern province of Helmandare still under Taliban’s control, officials acknowledged on Saturday.
Col. Khalilur Rahman Jawad, commander of the 8th brigade of police, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “The Taliban are there in some parts of the district, attacking vehicles of security the personnel.”
The road leading to the base of the 3rd battalion of Public Order Policehad been closed, as the insurgents had planted landmines on it, he said, promising expansionof the military operations to more parts of the district.
Maj. Gen. Ismatullah Dawlatzai, commander of the 505th police zone, said: “The Taliban could not achieve their target in Marja; they occasionally attack security forces and plant roadside bombs in some areas.”
Another official of the battalion, 2nd Lt. Ahmad, said: “The Talibankept under siege us for 12 days; we could not sleep and almost ran out of ammunition, but we still defeated them.”
If the Public Order Police also left the area like other policemen, the rebels would capture the district,warned aprovincial councilmember, Bashir Ahmad Shakir, who praisedpolice resistance.
According to security officials 13 policemen have been killed and 39 others wounded during the 12 days of gunbattles.
However, Taliban spokesmanQari Yousuf Ahmadi claimed most parts of Marja remained under Taliban, who had surrounded the police headquarters and did not let the security personnel patrol the areas.
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