Major assault by Taliban to capture Helmand province in Afghanistan

(Pic courtesy: TOLO news)

New Delhi (NVI): Even as peace talks between Taliban and Afghan government are underway, the terrorist organisation has launched a major offensive to capture southern province of Helmand, according to reports.

Massive clashes have been reported from Helmand over the last few days, particularly its capital Lashkar Gah, causing heavy casualties and forcing thousands of people to flee the province.

The Taliban, which aims to capture Helmand, has launched coordinated attacks in different parts of the province, according to the spokesperson of the provincial Governor.

The government forces are fighting back with determination but there have been reports of local police abandoning their posts in some places.

According to some local media reports, the Taliban has also cut off the highway leading to the adjoining Kandahar province.

Afghan Senator Gulalai Akbari was quoted as saying that Helmand-like situation could be seen in other provinces and even in Kabul if the government “continues to ignore what’s happening”.

Senate Speaker Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said the federal government needs to rush more forces to Helmand and all other provinces.

The US forces in Afghanistan have conducted targeted air strikes against Taliban in Helmand, according to the spokesperson, who promised to support the Afghan government forces against the Taliban.

Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan Gen Scott Miller said, “The Taliban need to immediately stop their offensive actions in Helmand province and reduce their violence around the country. It is not consistent with the US-Taliban agreement and undermines the ongoing Afghan peace talks.”

The Taliban attacks come even as representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban are holding intra-Afghan negotiations in Qatari capital Doha, with an aim of ending the decades-long war.