Troops On Offensive To Re-Take Helmand's Nawa District

Frederick Owens
July 17, 2017

The Taliban, fighting to re-establish strict Islamic rule in Afghanistan and drive out global forces backing the government in Kabul, control large stretches of the province and have targeted Lashkar Gah.

Naway is located just 16 kilometers, or 10 miles, from Lashkar Gah, and had been a staging arena for militant attacks on the city. The loss dealt a blow to hard-pressed Afghan National Army forces and raised questions about whether they would be able to maintain control of any part of Helmand. Retaking the Nawa district means that civilian aircraft have the ability to safely land at the Bost Airfield, right outside of Lashkar Gah.

But during a two-day operation that included airstrikes from U.S.

Insurgent attacks killed 1,141 civilians, a 12% increase over the same period previous year, according to the report, which said such attacks wounded another 2,348 people.

There are no reports regarding the casualties during the clashes so far with the Taliban group yet to comment regarding the fall of the district.

Aided by surveillance drones and US strike aircraft, including F-16s and AH-64 Apaches, Afghan forces captured the district center on Monday.

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U.S. Marines with Task Force Southwest aided and advised Afghan forces in the recapture of the strategic Afghan district of Nawa, according to Major Kendra Motz, a spokeswoman for the task force.

"The air support provided by the coalition forces increased the morale amongst the Afghan Uniform Police personnel", said Lt. Col. Mohammad Omar, the acting operations officer with the 505th Zone National Police.

But the greatest difficulties may still be ahead for the Afghan forces. Afghan News Agency on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook.

Nawa is an indispensable district in Helmand Province, said Moqbal. He estimated district security would require 300 police, but said that kind of manpower was not available. Embedding more advisers closer to the front lines has proven effective and facilitated more airpower to fledgling Afghan forces, Nicholson explained to lawmakers earlier this year.

An Afghan official says the country's security forces have driven the Taliban out of a key district in southern Helmand province from where they had been threatening the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

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