Afghan forces recapture key district in southern Helmand province

Elias Hubbard
July 17, 2017

Afghan security forces have launched a large-scale operation to re-take Nawa district of Helmand province after the Taliban seized control of the area nine months ago, local officials said Saturday.

Naway is located just 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Lashkar Gah, and had been a staging area for militant attacks on the provincial capital. Its capture by Afghan forces should create a buffer around the beleaguered city.

The recapture of Nawa district, which lifted a serious threat to transport links into Lashkar Gah, reflects renewed focus by Afghan forces and their USA advisers on Helmand, an insurgent heartland that is source of much of the world's illegal opium.

The security forces plan to continue the operation southward along the main road to the town of Garmsir, officials said.

"So far during this operation we have seen some significant gains in leadership and maneuver from the Ministry of Interior forces, particularly the Afghan Border and National Police", said Col. Matthew Reid, deputy commander of Task Force Southwest. "Nawa is a major north-south route for transportation, so as people travel north, they would typically travel through Nawa".

The Taliban control large stretches of Helmand Province, which is considered the source of much of the world's illegal opium.

The expeditionary advising packages, touted by Gen. John Nicholson the commander of USA forces in Afghanistan before senators in February, are proving to be effective, Motz said. More women and children were also among the dead this year.

Afghan police Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Omar said the United States air support was an important part of the operation.

The White House and Defense Department are still conducting a review of the situation and Afghanistan and a decision on a troop increase is still pending. "Defeating the enemy in Nawa means defeating the enemy in Helmand".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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