Insurgents pushed back from Lashkargah: Officials
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Security officials on Thursday claimed pushing back the Taliban from Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, but the rebel group said it had surrounded the city.
Lt. Col. Mohammad Rassoul Zazai, spokesman for the 215th Maiwand Military Corps, told Pajhwok Afghan News 36 insurgents were killed and 17 others wounded during raids launched on Wednesday night.
He said the Taliban were forced to retreat from the city, where the security situation was improved with each passing day. Operations are still underway in Bolan, Bushran and parts of the 2nd police district of Lashkargah.
The Taliban would be never able to enter to Lashkargah because security forces there were ready to deal with any eventuality, Zazai added.
Omar Zwak, the governor’s spokesman, also said the insurgents had been pushed back. Fresh commando forces, having arrived in the city, are operating against the militants.
“Besides other forces, commando personnel are also present in Lashkargah, where they have taken responsibility for ensuring security of surrounding areas of the capital,” he said.
Capt. Abdul Wase, 2nd police district chief, said sporadic gunshots could still be heard near Ahmad Wali Karzai Square.
Mohammad Khan, a resident of Bolan area, also said the Taliban had suffered casualties last night. He claimed the fighters were planting bombs on some parts of Bolan roads and streets.
However, the Taliban rejected government claims. The group’s spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the fighters had suffered no casualties in overnight raids.
He said Lashkargah had been surrounded by the insurgents, amid ongoing clashes in 2nd, 3rd and 4th police districts.The Taliban have sway over six districts in Helmand where only some district centres are under government control.
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