Afghan forces retake district in Helmand from Taliban: US

Afghan forces retake district in Helmand from Taliban: US

Washington (AFP) - Afghan security forces supported by US air power have retaken the center of volatile Nawa district from the Taliban in southern Helmand province, US officials said Monday.

Backed by strikes from F-16 fighters and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, Afghan troops began the two-day operation Saturday near the city of Lashkar Gar, which is the capital of Helmand.

Officials said the operation to retake the center of Nawa would improve security in Lashkar Gar, particularly at an airfield just outside the city.

The US military touted the advance against the Taliban as a significant success for the Afghan security forces, which have struggled to contain a resurgent Taliban in recent years.

Afghan police Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Omar said the US air support was an important part of the operation.

"The air support provided by the coalition forces increased the morale amongst the Afghan uniform police personnel," he said in a statement.

The operation comes as Pentagon chief Jim Mattis finalizes plans to present a new Afghanistan strategy to President Donald Trump in a bid to reverse what US generals call a "stalemate" at best.

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