KABUL, (Reuters) – Taliban guerrillas have overrun a town where British troops pulled out after a peace deal with local tribal elders, witnesses said on Friday.
Guerrillas took over the district administration office and police headquarters in Musa Qala on Thursday night.
British troops pulled out of Musa Qala in southern Helmand province — the poppy heartland of the world’s biggest opium producer and a Taliban stronghold — late last year after a deal with tribal elders to keep the Taliban out after months of fighting.
Local officials said there was no immediate move on Friday from government or foreign forces to retake the compounds two days before the United States takes command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
Washington had been critical of the Musa Qala pact.
Witnesses said the Taliban fighters arrested local leaders in the town.
The guerrillas routinely take towns and villages at night or for a few days, but have not been able to hold their ground.
Last year was the bloodiest since U.S.-led forces ousted the hardline Islamists in 2001 in response to Sept. 11. More than 4,000 people, a quarter of them civilians, died in fighting.