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Residents evacuate Helmand province as troops head in

Sunday, December 27, 2015 - 00:51

Ammunition supplies make their way to Afghan troops battling the Taliban in Helmand province as more residents leave the Sangin district where they say the fighting is heaviest. Rough Cut – Subtitled (No reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Ammunition supplies made their way to Afghan troops battling the Taliban in Helmand province on Sunday (December 27) More residents left the Sangin district with the fighting is heaviest. "Fighting is ongoing in Sangin district and people are leaving their homes. The Taliban are in the bazaar of Sangin. They have planted landmines everywhere so people are not able to open their shops or go to their homes. Many people have gone to other areas due to heavy fighting," said Mohammad Zarif, one of the many who have left their homes for Lashkar Gah, the provincial captial. "The bazaar of Sangin district has been closed down and the Taliban are present there. Afghan security forces are inside the provincial police headquarters. There is heavy fighting in the district and residents leaving their homes," added another evacuee, Rahmat Ullah. At least four districts in Helmand have slipped into Taliban control, badly denting hopes that Afghan security forces would be able to fight on alone after international forces pulled out last year. But government forces have complained bitterly of inadequate supplies, reinforcements and the shortage of air power that backed up NATO forces when they fought in the region. There have been widespread reports of desertion by Afghan troops after months of fighting, leadership confusion and a lack of coordination between army and police units. The crisis in Helmand has piled pressure on the government of President Ashraf Ghani, which was rocked by the fall of the northern city of Kunduz, seized by Taliban fighters in late September and held for several days. Alarmed by the Taliban advances, Britain has sent extra personnel to NATO's Resolute Support advisory mission in Helmand in a bid to help struggling local forces. Officials have not confirmed reports that special forces are present and they insist that the mission is there to advise and will not take part in combat operations. But at least two air strikes have been carried out this week. Afghan commanders have repeatedly requested more helicopters, and closer air support and intelligence from surveillance aircraft.

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Residents evacuate Helmand province as troops head in

Sunday, December 27, 2015 - 00:51