Musa Qala Faces Collapse, Clashes Continue: Officials

Afghan-troops-Helmand

Musa Qala district of southern Helmand province is in danger of collapsing into the hands of the Taliban as heavy clashes continue, local officials said on Wednesday.

There are however contradictory reports with some Provincial Council members have said that Musa Qala has already collapsed to the Taliban. In addition they say insurgents have torched a clinic and a school.

The council members said “the insurgents have also stolen a radio system from the police forces”.

But, Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar, Deputy Governor of Helmand has not confirmed reports of its collapse but said that heavy clashes continue and that more than 150 Taliban insurgents have so far been killed.

“Ten Afghanistan forces have also been injured in the clashes,” he said. “Reinforcements have arrived from [southern] Kandahar province to support the security forces.”

The Afghan and foreign air forces are also supporting the ground forces in the battle field, according to the officials.

This comes after local officials warned on Tuesday that Taliban insurgents were preparing for a massive attack on the district, adding that “the government should send in reinforcements.”

“Currently, Nawzad district in Helmand is completely controlled by militants, and Musa Qala is also under big threat,” a member of Provincial Council of Helmand, Bashir Shaker told TOLOnews on Tuesday.

Another member of Helmand provincial council said: “If the illegal ways which are connected to all districts are not closed, the war will continue and will change into a long-term conflict.”

On Tuesday, Dawlat Waziri, Deputy Spokesman for the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that Pakistani, Arab and Chechen Taliban are fighting against the government forces but added that security forces were ready to respond to any attacks by insurgents.

“Abdul Khaliq Khan, the first deputy of MoD who went to Helmand, said our forces are ready for a military operation. Our airstrikes continue to tackle the enemy,” he said.

Most of the Taliban insurgents killed, died due to airstrikes by foreign troops, said officials.

“Our forces have imposed high casualties on militants and the enemy is retreating,” Deputy Governor of Helmand, Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar said.

Musa Qala was once a key stronghold for the Taliban – an area used for training camps and drug smuggling operations.

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