August 11, 2016
Heavy clashes are going on between government forces and Taliban militants in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.
The fighting raged on across the restive region on Thursday after military reinforcements were sent to push back the Taliban militants who have been advancing on Lashkar Gah, the besieged provincial capital of the key province, over the past days.
Afghan forces have fought back the militants who stormed Nawa district, just south of Lashkar Gah, late Wednesday.
“We have retaken control of Nawa. Fighting is still going on in the outskirts but we are making progress,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri.
Waziri added that dozens of Taliban militants had been killed in the clashes.
“The security situation in Lashkar Gah is under our control,” he said.
Fierce battles across Helmand in recent days have forced tens of thousands of people to flee to Lashkar Gah, sparking a humanitarian crisis in the city as officials report food and water shortages there.
Residents said the city was practically besieged, with roads from neighboring districts occupied by the militants.
Taliban militants control or contest 10 of the 14 districts in opium-rich Helmand province which borders Pakistan.
In September last year, Taliban militants briefly captured Kunduz, which was the first city to fall to the Taliban militants after the group was removed from power in 2001.
Afghan officials have repeatedly stressed that they will not let Taliban take control over Lashkar Gah again.
Afghanistan is still suffering from insecurity and violence years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
The military invasion removed Taliban, but Afghanistan is still grappling with insecurity as militants seek to wrest control over the war-ravaged country.