Reinforcements arrive in Helmand amid fighting
KABUL (Pajhwok): Reinforcements have arrived in southern Helmand province, fighting against the militants with a high morale, security officials said on Wednesday.
Acting Defence Minister Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai and Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulumi told a press conference here that additional forces had reached Helmand to keep the militants at bay.
The security forces were faced with a key challenge in defending the strategic province, Stanikzai acknowledged, saying Afghanistan was stuck in the international war on terrorism.
He added Afghan forces had been fighting against nearly 23 terrorist groups, especially Lashkar-i-Taiba, Al-Qaeda and Daesh. “After the withdrawal of nearly 130,000 foreign troops, the militants have been trying to create problems in different parts of the country.”
But the Afghans had taken special measures to defeat the rebel outfits, he said, accusing some elements of trying to weaken the morale of the security forces by passing improper remarks.
Currently, clashes are ongoing in the Sangin, Washer, Nad Ali, Marja and Lashkargah, the acting minister said, scotching speculation that helicopters had air-dropped suspected individuals in some areas of the country.
Meanwhile, Ulumi alleged the terrorists fighting in Afghanistan were aided by regional countries, where theyhad sympathisers, supporters and enablers.
As a s result of a military offensive in Waziristan, the militants had sneaked into Afghanistan, he claimed. “Most of the groups, including Uzbek, Tajik, Chechen and Chinese rebels, were trained in Pakistan.”
Known as the world’s drug capital, Helmand has a porous open border with Pakistan. The militants do not want to lose the province, a financial source for them.
Breaking through the frontlines of Sangin district on Sunday after days of pitched clashes, the Taliban are closing in on the district centre.
Stanikzai said the embattled security personnel needed international military assistance, particularly air support, to beat back the Taliban.
Britain has also deployed a small contingent of soldiers to the province as advisers under the NATO mandate"They are not deployed in a combat role and will not deploy outside the camp," the British government said.
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