Helmand security to improve soon, says military commander
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The security situation in restive districts of southern Helmand province would improve gradually, local officials said on Friday.
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Moin Faqir, the 215th Maiwand Military Corps commander, told reporters in Lashkargah that Helmand being a large province in terms of area was vulnerable to security threats.
Widespread poppy cultivation and drug trafficking also fuelled insecurity in the province, bordering Pakistan, he argued, accusing the militants of receiving money from smugglers.
However, the military commander said they had drawn up plans in coordination with other security organs to improve the security environment in Helmand as soon as possible.
He added Marjah district, which was overrun by Taliban recently, was recaptured few days ago and its road opened. Other areas would also be retaken in the near future, he assured.
Taliban attacks significantly increased in the past two months in Helmand, where they had hideouts and could easily target security posts. But now the rebels have been weakened, according to the official.
Gen. Faqir linked the declining insurgent activities to night raids by the Afghan National Army (ANA), saying two Taliban-run prisons had been destroyed. Many insurgents had been killed and wounded, he claimed.
“We are trying to conduct clearing operations in Babaji and Nad Ali districts before focusing on Sangin, Marja and other areas where Taliban hideouts still exist,” the ANA officer continued.
Foreign troops are supporting the Afghan forces in some operations as they have recently conducted joint missions in Marjah, Sangin and Greshk districts.
However, an Afghan Local Police (ALP) official said that Marjah operations had not been coordinated with them arbitrary by the international troops.
He alleged the Taliban militants had resumed their activities after the operation ended. Traveling the road from Marjah to Lashkargah had become impossible, he complained.
The ALP source also contradicted the claim that the situation in the district had improved. He said the reinforcement that arrived in Marjah a month back had left without making any progress.
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