1st Ld, Writethru: Taliban, security force clash leaves 104 people dead in four days in southern Afghanistan
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, June 24 (Xinhua) -- A total of 104 people, including 35 civilians have been killed as clash continues between Taliban militants and security forces in southern Helmand province, a former Taliban stronghold over the past four days, spokesman for provincial administration Omar Zawak said on Tuesday.
"During the clash which begun four days ago, 104 persons, including 24 security personnel, 35 civilians and 45 Taliban militants have been killed," Zawak told Xinhua.
More than 45 civilians were injured in the clash, he added.
He also said that more than 800 Taliban insurgents are involved in the clash against security forces in Sangid district.
The clash also left around 2,500 families homeless, he added.
Taliban militants claimed that they have overtaken several posts and inflicted casualties on security personnel in Sangin district, a claim rebuffed by Zawak as baseless.
Zawak said that the security personnel were able to keep open the roads linking provincial capital Lashkar Gah to Sangin and Kajaki districts.
He also stated that the operations against militants would continue till the armed rebels are evicted and viable security in Sangin and adjoining areas is ensured.
Notorious for militancy and poppy growing, Helmand has been regarded as Taliban hotbed in south Afghanistan.