57 police confirmed killed in Helmand clashes
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Fifty-seven policemen were killed and another 37 wounded during two days of clashes in two districts of southern Helmand province, a senior police official confirmed on Monday.
Maj. Gen. Asmatullah Dawlatzai, the 505 Bost zone police commander in Helmand, told Pajhwok Afghan News the clash that erupted two days ago were still underway between security forces and Taliban insurgents in Greshk and Nad Ali districts.
He said at least 27 police were killed and 26 wounded in Shawal area of Nad Ali and 25 more police were killed and nine wounded in Malgir area of Greshk district.
Dawlatzai said five policemen, including an Afghan Local Police commander, had been killed and another two wounded during a clash in Sra Shakh area of Greshk. The Taliban have so far captured 10 security check posts from police in these areas, he added.
Dawlatzai said the Afghan National Army and Taliban insurgents had also suffered casualties, but exact figures were not known as yet.
The Taliban also confirmed the clashes, with the group’s spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, saying the fighters captured eight security checkpoints in Nad Ali and Greshk districts. During the seizure of the posts, he said, 61 policemen were killed and several others wounded.
Some public representatives on Monday warned if security reinforcements did not reach Helmand within 48 hours, the province would fall into the hands of the Taliban.
But Ministry of Defence spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri said the Taliban in no way could capture Helmand province.
He said ground and air operations against militants were underway in Lashkargah, Nad Ali, Greshk, Sangin, Marja and other districts. He acknowledged militant activity had lately increased in the province.
Helmand is among the most insecure provinces of Afghanistan and the Taliban are currently in control of four districts --- Nawzad, Musa Qala, Baghran and Dishu --- and some parts of Lashkargah.
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