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Taliban forces seize Helmand district of Musa Qala

August 26, 2015

Taliban fighters have seized control of a district in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province after days of fighting. Earlier, two NATO soldiers were shot dead by men wearing Afghan security forces uniforms.

Symbolbild Taliban
Image: Getty Images/AFP/Str

The fall of Helmand's Musa Qala was confirmed by the district's governor, Mohammad Sharif on Wednesday.

"We left the district early in the morning because the Taliban were attacking from all sides," Sharif told the Reuters news agency via telephone.

"We had asked (the central government) for reinforcements for days but none arrived, and this was what happened," he added.

Sharif told the Associated Press that the Afghan forces had fought hard for more than a week to hold off the attack and that they suffered an unknown number of casualties during the battle.

However, Razia Baloch, a member of Helmand's provincial council told Germany's DPA news agency that 25 Afghan police officers and soldiers had been killed and 15 others injured.

"The district police chief is among those wounded," she added. "More than 50 soldiers are missing."

This was the second district in Helmand to fall into Taliban hands in the past two weeks, after the neighboring district of Nawzad.

NATO soldiers shot dead

Earlier on Wednesday, two soldiers from the Western military alliance NATO died after two gunmen wearing Afghan uniforms opened fire on the vehicle they were traveling in, inside an Afghan army compound in Helmand.

"Service members returned fire and killed the shooters," a NATO statement said, without giving the two killed soldiers' nationalities or identities.

pfd/jil (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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