UK & World News

  • 25 June 2014, 22:46

Taliban Storms Sangin As US Troops Leave Base

Hundreds of Taliban fighters have reportedly swept into Afghanistan's Sangin district, just weeks after the last US troops left their post there.

More than 800 insurgents are believed to have been locked in a five-day battle with soldiers in the region, with 2,000 families forced to flee their homes.

Siddiq Siddiqi, a spokesman for Afghanistan's interior ministry, told the AFP news agency: "There was a major attack by the Taliban and their supporters.

"We're reinforcing Afghan national security forces and have suffered no major loss of territory.

"About 100 Taliban have been killed so far."

The number of dead was corroborated by the Iranian news agency Fars, which said 35 civilians had also been killed.

Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the Helmand provincial government, told AFP extra soldiers and police had been sent to restore security in Sangin, which has been a hotbed of violence throughout the 13-year battle in Afghanistan.

British forces suffered some of their heaviest losses of the entire war during a four-year mission in the region, with at least 100 soldiers killed during operations there.

An economic and transport hub, Sangin is strategically important for both the Taliban and the Afghan government.

It is home to vital power lines and some of Afghanistan's most fertile farmland.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force, known as Isaf, has fewer than 50,000 troops left in Afghanistan, including 32,800 from the US and 5,200 from the UK.

The last remaining British troops will leave within months, with Afghan authorities due to assume full responsibility for security by the end of the year.

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