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Taliban capture Helmand’s Sangin, besiege 150 police

Officials said on Sunday the Taliban had captured the Sangin district of southern Helmand province, besieging dozens of police.

A reliable source at the provincial police headquarters said the Sangin district fell into the hands of Taliban militants on Sunday afternoon when the rebels overran the district administration office. He said the insurgents captured the police building hours later.

About 150 policemen left these two buildings and moved to a nearby area where the insurgents had surrounded them, the official said and warned the beleaguered policemen would be killed if not provided air support.

He said the policemen had been under siege in the district centre for four days without eating and sleeping and thus they abandoned their actual posts.

A member of the upper house from Helmand and resident of Sangin, Hashim Alokozai, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban had captured all police and military installations in the district.

He said the police in Sangin had been provided no assistance and even an Afghan National Army battalion in a nearby area did not come to their aid despite being requested by the police.

The lawmaker said the besieged police would get killed if they were not provided aid until Monday morning.

He said police had suffered heavy casualties during clashes with insurgents, but gave no figures.

The Taliban have so far said nothing in this regard.

Sangin, which has long been the scene of bloody clashes between Taliban militants and Afghan forces, fell to the rebels after the deputy governor of Helmand used his Facebook account to ask the president for help.

In an unusual move, Mohammad Jan Rasulyar posted a message on Sunday, telling President Ashraf Ghani that over 90 security forces were killed in the past month fighting insurgents.

Otherwise, he wrote Helmand could fall to the Taliban. He says he was unable to make direct contact with the president by other means. (PAN)

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