Battle on in Helmand Province
Two reports out of Afghanistan discussing a huge fight going on in Helmand Province.
Afghan forces were fending off Taliban assaults on multiple fronts Monday, including the capital of southern Helmand province, where a car bomb killed at least 14 people.
In the north, Afghan security forces were battling for an eighth day to push insurgents from the city of Kunduz, and in western Farah province, Afghan forces called for reinforcements after insurgents surrounded an outpost there.
Despite the Taliban advances, both Afghan and U.S. officials expressed confidence in the Afghan security forces and their ability to withstand and repel the insurgent assaults.
In Lashkar Gah, capital of restive Helmand province, Taliban fighters entered the city and set off a suicide car bomb killing at least 14 people, including 10 police officers, The Associated Press reported.
The Taliban briefly held a police station in the second police district of Lashkar Gah before Afghan forces responded and “kicked out” the insurgents, said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Since the start of the fighting season this spring, the insurgents have expanded their presence in the province, closing in on the capital.
Afghan officials said the Taliban has attacked a police headquarters the in southern Helmand province, killing the local police chief.
It’s the second major Taliban assault Monday in Afghanistan. The insurgents are also attacking the northern city of Kunduz since early morning.
Afzel Khan, a policeman who survived the Helmand attack, says a suicide car bomber struck the police compound in Naway district, blasting through the gate and allowing gunmen in afterward.Provincial spokesperson Omar Zwak says police chief Ahmad Shah Khan was killed. Zwak couldn’t confirm other casualties and denied the district had fallen to the Taliban.
From the two reports it's kind of unclear what is actually happening. If it is just a terrorist attack with suicide bombers etc, that's horrible, but not as bad as a full throated attack on the region. Hopefully the Afghan military can finally assert some control and keep this from getting out of hand.