Afghan, US forces launch joint offensive in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Afghan and American forces have launched a joint ground and air operation in Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, and nearby Nad Ali district, an official said on Tuesday.
After 2014 when NATO forces’ combat mission came to an end, foreign forces are for the first time taking part in an operation against militants.
Helmand Governor’s spokesman Omar Zwak told Pajhwok Afghan News foreign forces and Afghan security forces together lunched the clearing operation in Babaji area of Lashkargh and Chah Injer locality of Nad Ali district on Monday night.
A number of Taliban militants suffered casualties and several areas were recaptured by Afghan forces during the operation, he said.
Provincial council deputy head, Abdul Majeed Akhunzada, confirmed the joint operation in Lashkargah and Nad Ali district.
He said a short stay by the American forces could not bring security to Helmand and it would be better if Afghan forces were equipped with advanced weapons.
An official, who wished not to be named, said foreign forces on Monday night first attacked two militant vehicles.
He said the Chah Injir area was recaptured and airstrikes on militants were underway in northern parts.
Rauf Khan, a resident of Chah Injir area of Nad Ali district, said clashes between security forces and militants were still underway in the area.
“We cannot see American forces here, the only people we can see are Taliban militants moving in the area,” he said.
Some 100 US troops were sent to Lashkargah and a number of districts on Monday night to cooperate with Afghan forces to improve the security situation.
The Pentagon on Monday said about 100 US troops had been sent to Lashkargah to push back Taliban from the strategic city.
The US military personnel arrived in Lashkargah after the insurgents mounted a coordinated summer offensive that has forced the Afghan security forces on the defensive.
"They've gone down there to assist the police zone headquarters and their leadership team with a focused train, advise and assist mission," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.
A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the main cause of the war in Afghanistan was the presence of foreign forces.
He said the conflict would continue until complete withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.
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