Afghan official says Taliban overruns district headquarters

Posted July 24, 2017

The death toll in an airstrike on July 21 was determined after a site inspection of the compound in the Gereshk district, said Helmand provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Safi.

He said the attack was launched as a small security check post was located near the district center, forcing the security personnel to retreat.

Abdul Karim Youresh, a spokesman for provincial police said security forces are now in Khair Abad village of the district "which is about 1.5 kilometers far from the center of the district".

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In June and July 2016, a series of interceptions had resulted in the removal of almost 200 people, including in the province of Kunduz (north): a lot of them had been released, but a dozen at least were killed, according to police.

"Aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound", United States forces said.

On the other front, the Taliban apparently faced little resistance to capturing the Kohistan district in the Faryab province bordering Turkmenistan in the wee hours on Sunday. Mewanwhile, in northern Badakhshan province Gov. Ahmad Faisal Bigzad said on July 22 that that 11 police were killed and another six wounded during a roaring battle with Taliban insurgents in the remote Tagab region.

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A U.S. airstrike targeting Afghan militants Friday in restive Helmand province instead killed 16 Afghan police officers, USA and Afghan officials said. It's believed all the dead are military or police personnel, he said.

Various reports said 20-30 of the villagers were later released or escaped and that about 33 remain in captivity.

This latest spell of intense clashes broke out earlier this week when the Afghan National Security Forces, backed by USA air power, managed to reclaim the restive Nawa district in the Helmand province after over a year when the Taliban overrun it. The area in which the fighting occurred is tucked inside a mountainous region where access is restricted and telephone contact is unsteady.

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In recent days, Taliban have launched dozens of attacks in northern Afghanistan, temporarily closing a key highway between the capital Kabul and northern Afghanistan.