Heavily armed militants are retreating as a result of a counter-offensive by Afghan security forces in the Sangin district of southern Helmand province, an official said on Friday.
Brig. Gen. Baqizoy, the provincial police chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News the insurgents’ resistance had weakened and the security forces were conducting clearing operations in different parts of the district.
A day earlier, Governor Mohammad Naeem claimed Pakistani forces were fighting alongside the Taliban against the Afghan security personnel. Speaking to tribal elders from the troubled district, he alleged the attacks were planned in Quetta.
Days of clashes in various parts of Sangin have so far resulted in the killing of about 166 people, including more than 100 militants. The clashes involving about 800 militants, including Pakistanis, have displaced 3,000 families.
The police chief said the bombs, planted by the Taliban in civilian houses and on roads, were being defused. He added up to 500 fighters, including foreigners, had been killed and wounded during the weeklong fighting.
Reinforcements and heavy weaponry had arrived in the district, where a long-term security plan was being implemented, he said, without explaining where the guerrillas had gone.
Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander Ghulam Jan, also a member of the Sangin Social Council, said the fighting was still raging. The district centre and several other areas came under attack last night.
“The officials are giving wrong information. I spent the night awake, fighting against the militants. How can you say the situation is calm and the fighters have fled?” he asked.
A tribal elder, Haji Akhtar Mohammad, also spoke of continued clashes. The officials sent from Lashkargah, the provincial capital, were yet to reach Sangin due to the Taliban’s presence, he said. The ALP personnel remained surrounded in Sarwan Kala area.
Source:Pajhwok news agency