Afghan troops rushed to deter Taliban in Helmand

Aug 11, 2016, 4:42 AM EDT
Soldiers patrolling in Afghanistan
(Source: Defence Images/flickr)

The Afghan army has sent thousands of reinforcements to Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province after the Taliban seized a territory a few miles from the city. The government has faced a string of losses in recent weeks despite heavy U.S. airstrikes in the militant-controlled areas. Officials in Afghanistan and the U.S. military rejected the concerns that the jihadist group would be able to make inroads into the capital of the largest Afghan province.

The failure of the Afghan forces to secure areas in Helmand province raises questions over the effectiveness and capability of an international training mission, writes The Guardian. On the other hand, the Taliban has set up a new commando force of “elite fighters,” who are well-equipped and highly armed.

According to the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (O.C.H.A.), heavy fighting continues in at least three districts of Helmand, displacing about 4,000 families owing to spiraling prices of food and household goods, notes Firstpost.

Amid raging violence, it has become difficult for civilians to flee the turbulent zones, as insurgents repeatedly block, mine or ambush outgoing roads, including the main highway connecting the provincial capital to southern Kandahar.