Air support sought as conflict rages in Helmand’s Nawa
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): An intense gunbattle between security forces and Taliban militants entered a second day on Tuesday in the Nawa district of southern Helmand province, the district police chief said.
Col. Ahmadshah Salim told Pajhwok Afghan News the clash erupted two days ago when the armed rebels launched coordinated attacks on all security posts in the district, calling for urgent support from the central government.
The police official said they had lost communication with the check-posts after coming under attack.
More insurgents arrived in the district from Nad Ali district to support their comrades, he said, adding no reinforcements had been dispatched so far to aid the beleaguered security forces.
A security source in the district told Pajhwok that the rebels besides overrunning Ainak and Loye Kali’s stations had captured many other areas.
He said police in the district lacked enough weapons, bullets and other equipment to properly defend the district from militant attacks.
Helmand police chief Brig. Gen. Aqa Noor Kintoz also confirmed the fighting in Nawa district and said reinforcements would soon reach the district to defeat the insurgents.
Meanwhile, Helmand’s provincial council head, Karim Khan Atal, said the security situation in the district was precarious.
“Our soldiers have the heart and morale to fight the enemy but they don’t have weapons, so how can they fight. Security officials must do something.”
Atal said if Helmand’s deteriorating security situation was not seriously considered, the province would face serious problems.
He called on international forces to intensify their airstrikes on militants and purge the province of them.
Another provincial council member, Abdul Majid Akhundzada, told Pajhwok that 95 percent of Helmand’s land was under Taliban control.
“Some kind of deal is suspected because areas are easily abandoned to be overrun by insurgents and soldiers are not being assisted with weapons.”
The Taliban confirmed the clash in Nawa district. The group’s spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the fighters had overrun many areas and caused many casualties to security forces.
Once a secure district and visitors’ destination, Nawa has become a dangerous place in Helmand.
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