KABUL, Nov. 14 (Xinhua)– Clash between government forces and Taliban militants have been continuing in Taliban bastion in the Sangin district of the southern Helmand province as dozens have been killed in the troubled Sangin district over the past couple of days, provincial governor Mirza Khan Rahimi said on Saturday.
“Dozens of people from both sides have been killed and several others injured as clash between government forces and Taliban rebels intensified in the troubled Sangin district over the past couple of days,” Rahimi said in a press conference here.
However, he couldn’t give an exact figure of casualties on either side.
Meanwhile, Taliban militants fighting the government to regain power, in a statement sent to media has confirmed the fight in Sangin district and claimed capturing five checkpoints and inflicted casualties on security personnel.
Notorious for growing poppy and militancy, Helmand with Lashkar Gah as its capital 555 km south of Kabul has been the scene of Taliban-led militancy over the past couple of years.
Clash between government forces and anti-government militants, according to local officials, are continuing in Marja, Babaji and Nad Ali districts.
However, Helmand provincial governor Rahimi told reporters Saturday that the government forces would soon launch massive offensive to evict militants from the said areas.
Meantime, scores of Ulema or religious scholars in a gathering in Helmand’s provincial capital Lashkar Gah on Friday announced their support to security forces in a war against anti-government militants including Taliban fighters.
The religious scholars, according to local media reports, in their sermons denounced Taliban brutalities, saying that supporting government security forces against insurgents is patriotic and religious obligation.
Helmand has been regarded as the hotbed of Taliban militants in the conflict-ridden Afghanistan and religious scholars’ support to security forces, according to Afghan political watchers, would deal major blow to the hardliner group.