Taliban seize most of strategic district

KABUL: The Taliban militant group has taken over most of the strategic district of Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan, leaving several people dead. 

Local Afghan officials confirmed on Wednesday that the militants seized control of most of the district in Helmand Province after a week-long battle with Afghan forces.

According to local residents, fierce clashes still continue in the center of the district.

The main hospital in Musa Qala, which was treating civilians and security forces, has also been seized.

More than two dozen Afghan security personnel have reportedly been killed and about 40 others have been injured over the past days of fighting in the troubled region. Reports say over 50 Afghan soldiers are also missing.

The Taliban have also captured key government buildings in the region. They are also using local villagers as civilian shields during clashes with the Afghan forces.

In a separate development in Helmand on Wednesday, two NATO soldiers were killed when “two individuals wearing Afghan (military) uniforms” opened fire on their vehicle at a compound of Afghan security forces in the province, a NATO statement said.

Helmand and other southern provinces of Afghanistan are militant strongholds and have been the scene of frequent fighting since the Taliban were toppled in 2001.

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