Monday, December 21, 2015

Losing Afghanistan in spite of Obama's claims.

Afghanistan Taliban: Militants close to capturing Sangin

Afghan security forces in Helmand province, 20 DecemberImage copyrightEPA
Image captionThe security situation in Helmand province has been deteriorating
Reports from the southern Afghan province of Helmand suggest Taliban militants are close to overrunning the strategically important town of Sangin. 
Helmand's governor, Mirza Khan Rahimi, insisted the authorities were still in control but his own deputy said that Sangin had been overrun.
The Taliban said they controlled most of the town and the main administrative building had been abandoned.
In the east, a Taliban attack near Bagram killed six foreign soldiers.
Nato, which leads the international force in Afghanistan, did not give the nationalities of the victims.
Some 12,000 foreign soldiers are deployed as part of the Resolute Support international coalition, which is meant to underpin Afghanistan's own security forces. The soldiers taking part are from Nato countries and Nato partner states.
The battle for Sangin comes a little over a year after the end of UK combat operations in Afghanistan, in which at least 450 soldiers were killed.
During its deployment in Helmand, the British military suffered its heaviest losses in Sangin.

Battle for Sangin 

Governor Rahimi gave a news conference in Helmand's provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, after his deputy, Mohammad Jan Rasulyar, told international news agencies Sangin had been overrun by the Taliban late on Sunday.
"The Taliban have captured the police headquarters, the governor's office as well as the intelligence agency building in Sangin," Mr Rasulyar told AFP. "Fighting is escalating in the district."
Quoted by the Associated Press, he said casualties among Afghan security forces were high but he gave no figures. Only some army facilities had not been taken, he added.
The head of Helmand's provincial council, Muhammad Kareem Atal, was quoted by AP as saying that "around 65%" of Helmand was now under Taliban control. 
BBC map
Afghan soldiers in Helmand province, 21 DecemberImage copyrightAFP
Image captionAfghan soldiers are under new pressure in Helmand province
Police officers and soldiers inside the Sangin police headquarters had appeared to be still holding out as of Monday morning.
The district police commander, Mohammad Dawood, told the BBC the Taliban had completely cut the facility off from the rest of the province, and food and weapons supplies were running low. 
"For the past two days we have been surrounded inside the police headquarters," he said.
"No one can move out because the checkpoints along the roads are gone. The roads between the district and Lashkar Gah and other districts are closed. We also have a number of injured troops and bodies here. In the last two days the fighting has been very heavy."
Mr Dawood added that, over the past month, security forces in the district had sustained 365 casualties, both dead and injured.
Meanwhile, reports say the Taliban are also close to overrunning the neighbouring district of Gereshk.

'Motorcycle bomber'

The attack at Bagram, the biggest US military facility in Afghanistan, happened at around 13:30 local time (09:00 GMT). 
US soldiers at Bagram, 28 May 2014Image copyrightGetty Images
Image captionBagram is America's biggest military facility in Afghanistan
It appears the bomber was riding a motorcycle or another vehicle. 
Brig Gen William Shoffner, head of public affairs at the Resolute Support base in Kabul, confirmed six deaths and said three foreign soldiers had also been wounded.
"We're deeply saddened by this loss," he said. "Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those affected in this tragic incident, especially during this holiday season."
A spokesman for the governor of Parwan province, where Bagram is located, told the BBC three Afghan police officers had also been wounded in the attack.
The Taliban said it had carried out the attack in statements to media.
In the Afghan capital Kabul, a US woman was killed at a gym, with her suspected attacker, a mullah, arrested. The woman was named as Lisa Akbari.

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