© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Handover ceremony at Camp Anthonic, from U.S. Military to Afghan Protection Forces in Helmand province, Afghanistan Might 2, 2021. Image taken Might 2, 2021. Ministry of Protection Press Workplace/Handout by way of REUTERS
By Zainullah Stanekzai
LASHKAR GAH (Reuters) – Afghan safety forces fought again an enormous Taliban offensive in southern Helmand province within the final 24 hours, officers and residents stated on Tuesday, as militants launched assaults across the nation following a missed U.S. deadline to withdraw troops.
Though america didn’t meet the Might 1 withdrawal deadline agreed in talks with the Taliban final 12 months, its pull-out has begun, with President Joe Biden saying all troops will out by Sept. 11. Critics of the choice to withdraw say the militants will attempt to sweep again into energy.
“There was a thunderstorm of heavy weapons and blasts within the metropolis and the sound of small arms was like somebody was making popcorn,” Mulah Jan, a resident of a suburb of provincial capital Lashkar Gah, advised Reuters.
“I took all my members of the family to the nook of the room, listening to the heavy blasts and bursts of gunfire as if it was taking place behind our partitions,” he stated. Households that might afford to go away had fled, however he had been unable to go, ready together with his household in worry earlier than the Taliban had been pushed again.
Attaullah Afghan, the top of Helmand’s provincial council, stated the Taliban had launched their large offensive on Monday from a number of instructions, attacking checkpoints across the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, taking up a few of them.
Afghan safety forces had launched air strikes and deployed elite commando forces to the world. The insurgents had been pushed again however preventing was persevering with on Tuesday and lots of of households had been displaced, he added.
A Taliban surge in Helmand would have specific resonance, because the opium-growing desert province was the place U.S. and British forces suffered the majority of their losses throughout the 20-year conflict.
As a part of the pullout, U.S. forces handed over a base in Helmand to Afghan troops two days in the past.
The Afghan defence ministry stated that along with Helmand, safety forces have been responding to assaults by the Taliban in no less than six different provinces, together with southeastern Ghazni and southern Kandahar up to now 24 hours.
The defence ministry stated simply over 100 Taliban fighters had been killed in Helmand. It didn’t present particulars on casualties amongst Afghan safety forces. The Taliban didn’t instantly reply to request for remark.
The Might 1 deadline for U.S. troops to tug out was agreed final 12 months beneath former President Donald Trump. The Taliban rejected Biden’s announcement that troops would keep on previous it however withdraw over the subsequent four-and-a-half months.
The deadline has been met with a surge in violence, with a automotive bomb in Logar province killing nearly 30 individuals on Friday night. Not less than seven Afghan army personnel had been killed when the Taliban set off explosives smuggled via a tunnel they’d dug into a military outpost in southwestern Farah province on Monday.
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