Roundup: Clashes continue in Helmand's Sangin district, Afghan gov't sends reinforcement

Roundup: Clashes continue in Helmand's Sangin district, Afghan gov't sends reinforcement

KABUL, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Fighting between security forces and Taliban militants has been continuing in Sangin district of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province over the past two weeks, spokesman for provincial administration Omar Zawak said Monday.

"Sporadic fighting is still going on in parts of Sangin district," Zawak told Xinhua.

However, he said that the Taliban militants had been evicted from Musa Qala and Kajaki districts and law and order have been re- established there.

Taliban militants launched massive offensive in Sangin district on June 21 and soon the conflict stretched to Musa Qala and Kajaki district.

Notorious for growing poppy and militancy, the former stronghold of Taliban, Helmand province has been regarded as Taliban hotbed in Afghanistan.

According to Helmand's provincial governor Mohammad Naeem Balouch, around 800 Taliban militants launched massive offensive against government facilities in Sangin district on June 21 and soon widened to Musa Qala, Kajaki districts and other parts of the province.

In talks with local media, the governor has claimed that the situation in Kajaki Musa Qala and Khanshin districts has returned to normal and mop up operations are underway in Sangin to bring the situation under control there.

This is the first time since the collapse of Taliban regime in late 2001 that the militants launched front war to challenge the government security forces since assuming security charge from NATO-led troops last year there in Helmand.

Some 500 Taliban militants, according to local security officials have been killed and injured during the war in Helmand province and thousands others have been left homeless.

The Helmand Governor however has confirmed that between 100 to 150 military and civilians have been killed during the battle.

He also confirmed that 380 injured civilians had been admitted to hospitals for medical treatment.

On the other hand, Taliban militants fighting for the control of Helmand province in a statement posted on their website have claimed capturing more than 30 police checkpoints and killing some 400 security personnel, a claim spurned by officials as mere propaganda.

Meanwhile, Defense Ministry has sent reinforcement to Sangin district and Defense Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi who visited Sangin district on Saturday, stressed for continuation of cleanup operations in Sangin district and adjoining areas.