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Taliban overrun Sangin district: Senator

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NUG on tenterhooks

AT-KABUL: After heavy clashes the Taliban militants have taken control of Sangin district of southern Helmand province, said a senator on Monday.

Hashem Alkozai, a member of Meshrano Jirga, said that Sangin district fell to the Taliban after heavy fighting between Afghan security forces and the insurgent group on late Sunday evening.

He said that the district compound, police headquarter and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) office was under control of the Taliban, adding that soldiers and policemen fought the insurgents till the last breath.

Though, the senator did not provide exact details but he said that security forces and civilians sustained casualties in the district.

Meanwhile, the government officials rejected reports about collapse of Sangin district to Taliban, but confirmed clashes between the militants and Afghan security forces in Sangin and some other districts of Helmand province.

Ministry of Defense’s Spokesman Dawlat Waziri said that fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces was underway in Sangin district. However, he did not confirm collapse of the district.

He said that clashes have not only erupted in Sangin district, but in Khanshin, Washir Marja, Nawzad and Nadali districts of Helmand province as well. The spokesman said that sufficient numbers of police and troops were present in Helmand, because the security agencies are paying attention to the province.

Spokesman to Ministry of Interior, Sediq Sediqi, said that government forces are facing security challenges in different districts of Helmand province.

He said that despite challenges, the militants sustained heavy casualties in Helmand, adding that 57 insurgents were killed within the past 24 hours in the province.

Sediqi said the government would send more troops and policemen to Helmand province if required to bring the law and order situation under control.

Sangin district is a strategic district of Helmand which links different districts and the provincial capital. The province also connects Kandahar with Uruzgan.