Afghan And Taliban Forces Trade Blows In Sangin Battle

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Afghan special forces troops are locked in an intense battle with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s strategic Sangin district, after re-taking some government buildings from the armed group, officials said. At least 20 civilians have been killed during the past 24 hours of fighting, local council officials told Al Jazeera on Friday morning.

The fight for control of the town in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province has raged for days, with both sides claiming to have the upper hand.  The most recent battle on Friday morning was taking place around the town’s central bazaar, said Al Jazeera’s Qais Azimy, reporting from the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

“The government [fighters] have been able to get control of the police headquarters and the district chief’s office,” he said. Our correspondent said that about 100 Afghan special forces soldiers are believed to have dropped into the Sangin some time on Thursday and that they were now waiting for reinforcements and supplies to be trucked in.

“They are desperately looking to open the road between Lashkar Gah and Sangin so they can supply the soldiers there,” he said. “But they are facing difficulties on the 70km stretch of road. There are a lot of improvised explosive devices and mines that have been placed by the Taliban, which makes it hard to travel. And they are facing ambushes as well.”

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