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Afghanistan deploys forces to Lashkargah after Taliban attack



Afghan commandos load ammunition into their rifle magazines during their battle with Taliban in Helmand province, Oct. 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Afghanistan has sent hundreds of troops to Lashkargah in a bid to purge the strategic city of Taliban militants after an attack by the resurgent group claimed the lives of 14 people.

The government’s special envoy for security in Helmand province said more than 300 commandos had been deployed to the city on Tuesday to prevent Taliban advancement.

A provincial spokesman said the deployed troops were sent from Kabul and nearby provinces to launch a “clearance operation” in Lashkargah.

“Soon the security forces will clear the whole city from Taliban,” Omar Zwak told the AFP news agency.

Taliban militants reportedly entered the capital of the southern province of Helmand early Monday morning.

The attack began with a car bombing in an attempt to break through the security belt and enter the city. A defense ministry spokesman, however, said security forces had managed to thwart the attack, but feared the militants would return.

Afghan army commandos take positions during a battle between Taliban militants in Helmand province on October 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The assault underscored Taliban’s sustained push into urban centers, coming a week after the militants stormed into Kunduz in the north.

The militants have already stepped up attacks in Helmand province and on Sunday captured Nawa district, which is close to the provincial capital of Lashkargah.

Over the past few months, Afghan security forces have been trying to foil attacks by the group in Helmand and Kunduz.

Security forces are engaged in heavy fighting with the Taliban to retake the control of Kunduz, which fell to Taliban on October 3 for the second time in a year.

Taliban were ousted following a US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 but the group has gone from strength to strength despite the presence of foreign troops.

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