By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The Afghan government on Monday claimed to have repulsed a major Taliban onslaught on southern Helmand province, killing over 70 insurgents in the ongoing clashes. According to the country’s Interior Ministry, additional troops arrived in Lashkargah city and the air force was continuously targeting the Taliban on the outskirts of this provincial capital.
Mawlawi Ghafur, the Taliban’s shadow deputy governor for Helmand, was released from a government prison recently, and detained last night while leading a fight in the Nahr-e-Saraj district, the governor’s office said.
The governor’s spokesman Omar Zwak also said the security forces had withdrawn “tactically” from their checkpoints in the BabaJi area on the outskirts of Helmand. The Taliban’s lead spokesman Zabiullah Mujahed and the group’s propaganda site al-Emarah are silent over the developments.
According to the US-Taliban peace deal inked in February, the insurgents are not supposed to attack major cities and provincial capitals.
Amid stalled intra-Afghan talks in Doha, the fighting in Helmand flared up days after the top US military commander in Afghanistan and the US special representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation discussed reduction in violence with military and civilian leadership of Pakistan.