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    NewsAsiaAfghanistan bombs Taliban positions in the South

    Afghanistan bombs Taliban positions in the South

    Afghan and U.S. forces shelled Taliban positions in southern Afghanistan in order to drive out the insurgents after they captured a provincial capital.

    The shelling in Helmand province occurred overnight, seeking to drive the Taliban out of the capital Lashkar Gah, official sources said Wednesday.

    Both the UN and Human Rights Watch implored the warring parties to do everything possible to prevent civilian deaths. The Taliban have launched a fierce offensive in recent days, just as the United States and NATO are preparing to withdraw their forces from there. The insurgents have conquered huge swathes of land and are now targeting urban centers.

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    Ghulam Wali Afghan, a lawmaker in Helmand, told The Associated Press that relatives and constituents of his there have told him of dead bodies in the streets and neighbors hiding in their homes, reluctant to come out and collect their dead.

    After a night of heavy shelling, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday that the Taliban had suffered heavy casualties in Lashkar Gah, although there was no way to confirm this. Taliban spokesman Zabihula Mujahid denied the report.

    Officials did not disclose whether Afghan forces retook territory. On Tuesday, authorities and residents said the Taliban control nine of the city’s 10 districts.

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    The capture of Lashkar Gah would be a major triumph in the Taliban offensive, and would be the first provincial capital captured by the insurgents in several years. Fierce fighting has forced the city’s residents to barricade themselves in their homes.

    On Wednesday, the provincial director of hospitals, Sher Ali Shakir, called on people to stay in their homes, saying at least seven civilians were killed and 101 wounded, mostly by bullets, in the past 24 hours.

    Shelling and street skirmishes have destroyed several homes and businesses in Lashkar Gah. Helmand council head Ataulla Afghan accused both sides of ignoring the suffering of civilians.

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    Gen. Sami Sadat, commander of Afghan forces in Helmand, called on residents to evacuate the districts conquered by the Taliban and apologized to them for the hardships they are going through, according to a recording of the message given to journalists.

    We will not leave the Taliban alive, I know these are difficult times. We are doing this for your future. Forgive us if you are displaced for a few days, please evacuate the area as soon as possible. Sadat said in the message

    Alex Dawit
    Alex Dawit
    Alex Dawit is Journalist of the Awutar. He had completed his graduation in Journalism and Communication, Pakistan. He is passionate about News, Blogging & Research Writing. You can contact him via: [email protected]

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