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Taleban establish foothold in southern Afghanistan after offensive

Published on Jun 30, 2014 1:47 AM

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) - The Taleban have established a foothold in southern Afghanistan in a 10-day battle against Afghan forces, locals said on Sunday, as the army and police struggle to prove they can defeat the insurgents without Nato help.

A coordinated assault by 800 Taleban fighters on police checkpoints and military posts began on June 19, with Afghan forces rushed in to recapture parts of Sangin district in Helmand province.

Despite government claims that the Taleban have been routed in a series of counter-attacks, Mr Hashim Alkozai, a local elder, told AFP that the insurgents had successfully defended two key areas of the district.

"The government has sent more reinforcements to Sangin, but the Taliban still have two parts, Barekzai and Bostanzai, under their control," Mr Alkozai said after fleeing to Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand.

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