Taliban’s major push to seize Khanshin thwarted
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Insecurity forces last night thwarted a major push by Taliban to capture Khanshin district of southern Helmand province, police said on Wednesday.
Helmand police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang told Pajhwok Afghan News Afghan security forces had prior information that 150 to 200 Taliban militants laced with light and heavy weapons were planning a major attack on Khanshin district.
Prepared for the assaults, security forces pushed back the insurgents after they launched their offensive last night and inflicted heavy casualties on them, he said. Sarjang did not provide figures for casualties among security forces.
But another security official said 17 policemen had been killed and their weapons seized by the rebels.
The provincial police chief said fresh army and police forces had reached theKhanshin to strengthen security there. He said the security forces had air support and the Taliban would not be able to capture the district.
Sarjang said weaknesses earlier existed in the district had been overcome. The weaknesses had allowed the insurgents to attack and advance, but he did not explain the shortcomings.
He also said operations against militants were underway in Marja district and security forces had advanced in some areas and further advance had been prevented by landmines on the highway.
He said operations to retake Babaji area of Lashkargah and Chah Injeer area of Nad Ali district would be launched after resolving the issues in Marja and Khanshin.
The governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak, said the insurgents had been attacking security forces in Khanshin district over the past few days, but last night the rebels wanted to wage a massive assault.
He said fresh security forces had reached Khanshin and the problem would be resolved soon.
Last night attacks by insurgents left 10 policemen killed and wounded, but the attackers sustained heavy casualties, Zwak said, but provided no specific figures.
On the other hand, the deputy provincial council chief, Abdul Majid Akhunzada, said the violence in Helmand had escalated and the conflict had spread to Khanshin after the collapse of Musa Qala and Nawzad districts.
For the insurgents, he said, it was easy to fight in Khanshin district instead of northern districts because the town shared a long border with Pakistan enabling their movement.
The public representative said if the insurgents were not contained in Khanshin, they would capture Garamsir and Nawa districts as well.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said the fighters had captures some areas in Khanshin, killing 20 security personnel and confiscating their weapons.
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