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Afghan Defense Official: Helmand Province Out of Taliban Danger

  • Ayesha Tanzeem

FILE - An Afghan security personnel carries a wounded man after a suicide car bomb blast attacked a military convoy in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Nov. 15, 2015.

FILE - An Afghan security personnel carries a wounded man after a suicide car bomb blast attacked a military convoy in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Nov. 15, 2015.

After days of heavy fighting, Afghan forces have regained control of parts of Helmand province previously in the Taliban hands.

Neither the province of Helmand, nor its capital, Lashkar Gah, was in danger of falling to the Taliban, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

General Daulat Waziri, the spokesman for Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense, told reporters in Kabul Friday that the Taliban suffered heavy casualties during recent clashes, with 160 insurgents killed and 65 others wounded in several districts.

He said Afghan forces managed to break the Taliban hold of Marja, the district that had fallen into insurgent hands last year.

He also said Afghan forces managed to reopen a 10-kilometer stretch of road between Lashkar Gah and Marja that the Taliban had blocked for months.

Taliban militants overran several security checkpoints and killed dozens of police officers in Helmand late last month. Heavy fighting in multiple districts including Gereshk, Nad Ali, Sangeen and Marja led to fears that Lashkar Gah would fall to the Taliban.

Fighting in the province was so fierce last year that NATO-led forces had to send hundreds of additional troops in support of Afghan forces.

General Waziri said Afghan forces also reopened another key highway between Kandahar and Terenkot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan province.

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