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Conflicting reports over Khanshin fall

AT-KABUL: There are conflicting reports about the fall of Helmand province’s Khanshin district to the Taliban.

Heavy clashes are underway between security forces and the Taliban insurgents in different parts of the province including on the outskirt of the Lashkar Gah city, provincial capital.

“After fierce fighting rocked the district, the Afghan security forces have retreated from the town, enabling the Taliban to capture it,” said a security official, who wished to remain anonymous.

Hashim Alakozai, a lawmaker from the volatile province, confirmed the Taliban had taken control of Khanshin. He said security forces had also moved back from Garmsir district and clashes were underway in Bagat area.

According to local officials, dozens of the Taliban insurgents launched attacks Monday night against security forces, in which Taliban insurgents have suffered heavy casualties so far.

At the same time, provincial council members said that most parts of the district have fallen to the Taliban.

They also said that heavy clashes are still ongoing between security forces and the Taliban insurgents. “Taliban are close to the district governor’s compound and district police headquarters,” officials added.

However, provincial governor spokesman Omar Zwak denied the fall of Khanshin to the Taliban.

Moreover, Capt. Gran Habibi, a police officer in Lashkar Gah, said that 27 Taliban insurgents were killed and 16 other received injuries during overnight fighting.

He added that two police officers were killed and some other wounded during fighting.

Taliban insurgents are making long efforts to capture Helmand, the strategy province, as they want to turn the province as their main stronghold.

Previously, officials said that Taliban want to shift the group’s leadership currently based in Quetta city of Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

However, the Afghan security forces has repeatedly showed strong resistance and always thwarted the evil designs of the Taliban insurgents in every parts of the country.

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