KABUL—The Taliban commander overseeing an assault on the important southern town of Lashkargah is just one of five,000 previous prisoners launched by the Afghan govt last 12 months beneath pressure from the U.S., Afghan and Western officials say.
The commander, Mawlavi Talib, is just one of hundreds of previous prisoners freed to further more peace talks who have returned to the battlefield to be part of the Taliban onslaught against towns around the region, Afghan officials say. The presence of the Taliban fighters is a fresh new pressure in relations concerning Washington and Kabul, as the U.S.-backed govt struggles to fend off Taliban assaults through the region.
Afghan officials stated fierce fighting continued Tuesday in Lashkargah, the provincial funds of Helmand province, following hefty U.S. airstrikes and a counterattack by U.S.-skilled Afghan commandos overnight. Beneath Mr. Talib’s command, hundreds of Taliban have pushed towards the town center over the past 7 days. On Tuesday they released an attack on Lashkargah’s prison in a bid to release extra inmates and recruit them into the battle.
The fighting in Lashkargah is section of a broader countrywide Taliban offensive that experienced captured half of the country’s remote districts by last thirty day period and now threatens provincial capitals. On Tuesday, the govt stated that its commandos released a counterattack in the western town of Herat, whose defenses had been teetering. Taliban forces last thirty day period pierced defenses in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second major town, but govt forces are holding continual there.
Afghanistan’s Protection Ministry stated Tuesday its forces killed around 375 Taliban and wounded 193 in fighting throughout the region in the last 24 hrs. Eleven improvised explosive units had been discovered and defused, the ministry stated. The Afghan govt has stopped releasing studies on its possess military casualties to prevent demoralizing its troops.