Photo By Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite | An Afghan Local Policeman stands guard Sept. 26, 2013, in front of an Afghan National Army post in Sangin District, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Afghan National Security Forces launched a clearing operation to defer an estimated 700 insurgents from returning to Sangin District. Security forces also led an effort to retake four previously overran checkpoints. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite)
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HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces launched the final stage of a clearing operation recently in Helmand province’s Sangin District to deter returning insurgents.
An estimated 700 insurgents have been operating in and around Sangin since May, according to local Afghan security forces. The district is an important hub for the insurgency in southern Afghanistan.
“Sangin used to be a major center of drug trafficking in the past,” said district Gov. Habibullah Shamlanai. “And the enemy has a lot to gain by controlling the district. Sangin has been a constant battle ever since Afghan security forces confronted the insurgency here.”
Foreign Taliban fighters displaced many families, said Shamlanai. Also, insurgents attacked Afghan Local Police positions along the Sangin River, overrunning four security checkpoints.
“They are trying to have their way in the district,” the governor said. “Though we have suffered many casualties, our forces will continue to fight back until we completely defeat the enemy.”
The operation began Sept. 20 when Sangin Police Chief Ghulie Khan Khudiram and Quasim Mama, the Afghan Local Police regional commander, led an effort to retake the four checkpoints.
Afghan National Army forces followed that operation by clearing explosives between the highway and village near the river.
Now in the final phase of the operation, Afghan security forces and government officials are urging local residents to stand up against the Taliban.
Helmand Gov. Naeem Baluch and Shamlanai visited displaced families in Puzeh village and were pleased with their support.
“The people are eager to support the government and fight our enemies,” said Shamlanai. “Many of the villagers are asking to become ALP and to help rid the Taliban in their areas.”
Afghan security forces continue to repel daily attacks from Taliban fighters in rural areas near the district. Afghan special forces from the 7th Special Operations Kandak and ALP are currently augmenting efforts led by the district police.
“We are going to do the best we can to improve the district,” said Shamlanai. “And only by working together like brothers will we be able to rid the district of the enemy.”
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HELMAND PROVINCE, AF
This work, Afghan forces take back Sangin, by SSG Osvaldo Equite, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.