12:54 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Afghan security personnel sit on atop an armoured vehicles amid an ongoing battle with Taliban militants in the Gereshk district of Helmand province on July 22, 2017

    Afghan Security Forces Launch Offensive in Taliban Stronghold

    © AFP 2019 / NOOR MOHAMMAD
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    KABUL (Sputnik) - Afghan security forces have shifted activities from a defensive posture to an offensive approach in the country's southern province of Helmand, considered to be one of the main strongholds of the Taliban movement and a major drug-producing centre, Helmand Governor Mohammad Yasin Khan said.

    "We have a very well-coordinated team. We have shifted [our operations] from defensive to offensive and have taken ground back", the governor said.

    According to Helmand Provincial Chief of Police Isahmudin Helmandi, people in the region want security and support operations carried out by local police.

    The southern province has long been considered one of the deadliest provinces, as many of its districts remain under Taliban control. The Helmand Province also remains one of the top producers of illegal drugs in the country, including heroin.

    The United States and the Taliban have been negotiating an agreement for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and for a guarantee from the Taliban that Afghan soil would not be used to harbor members of the al-Qaeda terror group. Representatives from the Taliban and from Washington have held six rounds of extensive talks with only minor progress.

    The Taliban movement and Afghan authorities have not yet held direct talks. Moscow has also provided a platform for intra-Afghan talks. Two such meetings have taken place in the Russian capital since February, with a Taliban delegation present each time. The talks have also been attended by prominent Afghan politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai.

    Afghanistan has long been suffering from an unstable security situation. The government has been fighting the Taliban movement, which has been waging a war against Kabul for almost two decades, and the Daesh terrorist group, which has been operating in Afghanistan since 2015.

    *Daesh (aka IS/ISIS/Islamic State), Taliban, al-Qaeda are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.

     

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