Taliban seize second district

Nato confirms the takeover of Washir district by Taliban fighters.

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    Taliban fighters entered Musa Qala last Thursday

    Qari said the officers' police vehicles had been seized and distributed among Taliban fighters.
     
    Afghan government forces had made an effort to retake the district centre but the attack was repulsed, he said.
     

    Mullah Abdel Rahim, the Taliban commander in Helmand province, said: "It's not just Musa Qala and Washeer, we are in control of much of Helmand province. The people are with us. They give us food, they give us shelter."

    Dada Mohammed Khan, the district's MP and former chief of intelligence, said: "The Taliban will now increase its force here and take over the rest of the province."

     

    Exodus

     
    In recent days, thousands of residents have fled from Musa Qala, a town in southern Afghanistan, while Taliban fighters who moved in last week consolidated their positions.
     
    Haji Assadullah Wafa, the governor of Helmand province, told Reuters that a military operation to recapture Musa Qala would be launched soon.

    "The Taliban are only in the town to create problems for the people," the governor said.
     
    "They do not have the ability to seize an area and maintain their control over it."

    British-led Nato troops withdrew from the town after striking a deal with local authorities and tribal elders in October.
     
    The agreement meant that Nato troops and Taliban fighters were not supposed to come within 5km of the town centre, but a group of 200 Taliban disarmed the local police force, destroyed the district centre and temporarily held local elders hostage.

    The Taliban made their move after accusing Nato of violating the deal during an air strike that killed the brother of Mullah Ghafour, a local Taliban leader.
     
    Nato commanders and tribal elders have said that the attack was outside the area covered by the truce.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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