ANA Recaptures Helmand's Khanshin District Amid Heavy Fighting

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Backed by US air strikes, embattled Afghan security forces have taken over Khanshin, a volatile district in the southern province of Helmand which collapsed to Taliban insurgents two weeks ago.

Security officials on the battlefield have reported that the insurgent group sustained a massive casualty toll.

“The operations are continuing, sufficient forces deployed there including the air force and the commando forces, Taliban are still showing some slight resistance,” Helmand police chief Abdul Rahman Sarjang said.

US air strikes against Taliban on the battlefield have been welcomed by the Afghan officials who in the past have constantly called for such an engagement in order to bolster the strength of the Afghan forces in their battles.

“Powerful and accurate blows by the US forces help to defeat the enemy and prevent them from causing harm to Afghan security forces,” said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for MoI.

Meanwhile unconfirmed reports from Helmand say that at least 100 Taliban fighters have so far been killed and dozens others wounded in the fight.

Taliban infiltrated the strategically important town of Khanshin two weeks ago, bringing about a major security challenge to Afghan forces.

“There is some widespread fighting in a village between Nawah and Marjah, air strikes are also being conducted and Taliban suffered massive casualties, six Taliban commanders were killed,” Esmatullah Dawlatzai, an ANA commander in Bost district of Helmand said.

Military experts meanwhile have also advocated for broader US air strikes to help the Afghan troops stop the advance of the Taliban during battles.

“If the operations are conducted in areas under major threat, with better harmony on a permanent basis, this will force the Taliban to retreat. It also prevents the collapse of other areas and strengthens the operations which are conducted by the Afghan forces and helps them to recapture the areas collapsed to militants,” military analyst Jawed Kohistani said.

“Two to 15 night operations are conducted every night. We discovered a (Taliban) prison in Najre Saraj, 16 militants were killed and 17 prisoners were released,” Dawlat Waziri, a defense ministry spokesman said.

Helmand, once a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan, has been the most volatile province in the country over the past fifteen years – since a US-led NATO coalition toppled the group from power.

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