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Afghan Forces Start New Year Battling Taliban - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Kabul- Afghan security forces faced a tough year ahead on Monday as Taliban began the new year with another onslaught in Afghanistan’s embattled southern Helmand province, where fighting continued for the third day, authorities and locals said.

All civilians fled the center of the Helmand district targeted in the attack, according to a local tribal elder, Shamsullah Sahrayi.

The state of the fighting was unclear on Monday, with Taliban, government troops and tribal elders all giving different accounts.

Taliban claimed in a Tweet that they were attacking government offices; however, provincial spokesman Omar Zwak said that “all government facilities, including the district governor’s compound and police station were under government control.”

“Taliban have taken heavy casualties, three of their commanders have also died in the clashes,” Haji Sulaiman Shah, the district chief for the long embattled Sangin district said.

The district targeted by the Taliban onslaught has been the center of the Helmand conflict since the NATO combat mission ended in 2014 and was also once the focus of the British fight against the insurgency.

Meanwhile, the Taliban also claimed to have reopened a road connecting Helmand’s provincial capital Lashkargar and the neighboring Kandahar province after a week-long blockage.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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