Afghan forces retake control of Helmand district from Taliban

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Afghan forces drove Taliban militants out of the centre of a district in the southern province of Helmand on Friday, as they fought back against insurgents who have threatened a series of districts over recent months.

Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Ayoub Salangi said that security forces had retaken the district of Khanishin. The region, in the south of Helmand, had fallen to the Taliban earlier this month.

“The district of Khanishin is cleared of enemies,” Salangi stated. “Afghan forces inflicted heavy casualties.”

Helmand is a traditional stronghold of the Taliban and one of the biggest centers of opium production. Over the recent months, it has seen fierce fighting between the militants and Afghan forces. The militants are pressing their insurgency after the withdrawal of most international forces last year.

The Taliban have been seeking to build on last September’s brief capture of the northern city of Kunduz, their biggest success since they were driven out from power by a US-led intervention in 2001.