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Iran Press TV

Afghan government sends reinforcements to Helmand

Iran Press TV

Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:7PM

The Afghan government has deployed reinforcements to the southern province of Helmand after the Taliban militants captured a large area of a key district in the volatile region.

Mohammad Jan Rasulyar, the deputy provincial governor for Helmand, said Afghan warplanes dropped food and ammunition to a group of besieged Afghan forces battling the militants in the area.

He said the Afghan forces will take back control of the Sangin district, which fell to militants two days ago. 'I am confident that we will not lose Sangin.'

Rasulyar had earlier warned that the whole province was on the brink of falling to the Taliban. He also pleaded for urgent intervention by authorities in Kabul to save the region.

In a message posted on his Facebook account on Sunday and addressed to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Rasulyar complained that army and police units had been badly weakened by desertions and lack of supplies. 'We don't provide food and ammunition to our forces on time, do not evacuate our wounded and martyred soldiers from the battle field, and foreign forces only watch the situation from their bases and don't provide support.'

Latest media reports indicate that violent battles have raged between Afghan security forces and the Taliban across Helmand since the militants captured large parts of Sangin.

The militants have set several government buildings and police stations on fire.

Militants recently overran Babaji, a suburb of Lashkar Gah, sparking concern that the provincial capital could fall.

Britain on Tuesday announced to deploy a contingent of its soldiers at Camp Shorabak in Helmand to assist Afghan forces in an 'advisory role.' The deployment is the first since British troops ended their combat mission in the volatile province in October 2014.

In addition to the British troops, US special forces are also stationed in the region.

In October, US President Barack Obama announced that thousands of US soldiers would remain in Afghanistan past 2016, backpedaling on previous plans to reduce the force.

A former stronghold of the Taliban and an opium production hub, Helmand has been the scene of fierce fighting between the militants and government forces over the past months.

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