Airstrikes pummel Taliban in south; insurgents gain in north – News Vibe24

    Airstrikes pummel Taliban in south; insurgents gain in north - Times of India
    KABUL: The Afghan Air Force carried out more airstrikes against Taliban positions in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, as the rebel force made additional gains in the north of the country.
    The Pentagon said in a statement that airstrikes had been carried out across the country, including in the southern province of Helmand, where the provincial capital of Laskar Gκα was strongly contested. The Taliban control nine of the city’s 10 police districts.
    Residents in Lashkar Gah reported heavy bombardment near the government-run Taliban-controlled radio and television station. Several wedding halls and a guest house of the provincial governor are all close to the radio and television station.
    In northern Afghanistan, the Taliban have taken control of most of the provincial capital of Shar-e-Pul, said its chief of staff, Mohammad Nour Rahmani. In recent months, the group has gained control of dozens of areas in several northern provinces.
    The Taliban offensive appears to have intensified with the start of the final withdrawal of US and NATO troops in late April. As the attacks intensified, Afghan security forces and government troops retaliated with increasing airstrikes, with the help of the United States. This has raised concerns about civilian casualties across the country.
    “We can tell you that we are deeply concerned about the safety and security of people in Lashkar Gah, in the south, where tens of thousands of people could be trapped by the fighting,” said Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesman on Wednesday.
    “We, together with our humanitarian partners in Afghanistan, are assessing the needs and responding to the south as access allows,” he said.

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