Afghanistan: Taliban seize key district where U.K. lost 104 soldiers

London [U.K.]: The Taliban has captured a key district in Helmand province, which was once considered a deadly battlefield for the British and the U.S. troops in Afghanistan, as reported by The Guardian.

The fall of Sangin, which has been seen as a key test of whether Afghan security forces can hold off advancing Taliban fighters, came amid the insurgents’ year-long push to expand their footprint in the Taliban heartland.

The district’s police chief, Mohammad Rasoul, said the Taliban overran Sangin early on Thursday morning and that the district headquarters were poorly protected.

Rasoul, however, added that Afghan security forces were amassing nearby for a full-scale counterattack in an attempt to retake Sangin, and the were preparing their reinforcements to recapture the district.

Of Britain’s more than 400 military deaths in Afghanistan, 104 soldiers have been killed in Sangin.

Nato’s spokesman, William Salvin, said Afghan troops remained in Sangin, but had relocated outside the district centre because of the extensive damage to it by the Taliban.

Sangin is one of the biggest opium markets in Afghanistan. More than 4,800 metric tonnes of the drug was produced countrywide in 2016. (ANI)