Militants weakened in Helmand, says US commander
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): A US military commander on Monday said coordination among Afghan security forces had lately increased and militants weakened in southern Helmand province.
Brig. Gen. Andrew Rohling told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview that recently the Afghan security forces had strengthened while the militants had weakened in Helmand.
He also said coordination among Afghan security forces had improved in the province and they had switched to offensive mode from defensive.
He believed positive changes in the Helmand administration resulted in strengthening security forces and weakening of the rebels.
According to Rohling, the security situation in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, has improved and in some other areas, joint operations by Afghan and US forces are underway.
“Currently we only in needed circumstances participate (in combat actions) and provide aerial support to Afghan security forces during fighting against militants and we haven’t taken part in ground offenses since 2014 and there is also no need to do so.”
The commander said operations would be conducted in Marja and Sangin district soon in near future to improve security there.
“We implement every plan carefully and according to recommendations by the local leadership of Helmand.”
Meanwhile, Maiwand Military Corps commander in Helmand, Lt. Gen. Mohammad Moin Faqir, told Pajhwok that US forces only provided air support to Afghan forces during clashes against militants.
“Airstrikes by foreign forces make militants abruptly flee and the strikes inflict many casualties on rebels.”
Meanwhile, Helmand governor Hayatullah told Pajhwok Afghan News that once again coordination between the Afghan and US forces had enhanced, raising frustration among militants in remote areas as well.
He said militants would be unable to take control of an area, but instead Afghan forces would retake areas from them.
However, Musa Qala, Nawzad, Baghran and Desho districts as well as Lashkargah’s Babaji area are under Taliban’s control.
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