ALP strength being increased in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Interior has approved a new 1000-member Afghan Local Police (ALP) force for southern Helmand province to enhance security, an official said on Saturday.
Clashes between security forces and Taliban militants have been underway in various parts of the province, with the rebels capturing some areas.
Helmand police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang told a press conference here that the Ministry of Interior had approved the deployment of another 1000-member ALP force to strengthen security in the province.
The police chief said some needs in sphere of equipment including heavy weaponry and others of security forces had been fulfilled in Helmand.
Sarjang said the new ALP force would assist the national police in areas where their presence was needed.
The new deployment will increase the ALP strength in Helmand from the current 4000 to 5000 personnel.
Sarjang also said additional security personnel had been sent to various parts of Helmand to prevent the conflict from spreading.
He said the Taliban had devised some plans for Helmand in spring, but the Afghan forces were fully prepared to frustrate their designs.
The police chief said security forces had been locked in fierce clashes with Taliban militants over the past two days in Sangin and Greshk districts.
“In these districts, the Taliban are currently busy evacuating their dead and injured colleagues. After the clashes, the rebels cannot bring under their control any area.”
Sarjang said foreign troops had assisted Afghan forces with air support during the clashes in Helmand.
Meanwhile, Gen. Abdul Wadood Nijrabi, the 215 Maiwand Military Corps second battalion commander, told Pajhwok Afghan News that security forces had pushed back the Taliban in Sangin district.
However, he said the Taliban had warned residents against going to the district bazaar. Nijrabi said security forces yesterday launched a three-pronged attack on Taliban militants in Sangin, killing 20 insurgents and wounding several others.
Without providing figures for casualties among the Afghan security forces, the military official said the clashes in Sangin had come to a close and security forces were currently busy strengthening their positions.
But Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said the fighters remained in control of most areas of Sangin district. He denied the rebels had suffered casualties yesterday.
The Taliban are currently in control of four districts --- Baghran, Dishu, Musa Qala and Nawzad --- of Helmand, a hub of poppy production.
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