Taliban Fighting for New Foothold in Southern Afghanistan

Taliban Fighting for New Foothold in Southern Afghanistan

(Reuters) – Afghan forces battled the Taliban in southern Helmand province on Monday for a second week, officials and residents said on Monday, seeking to reassert control over a strategic district just weeks after the departure of U.S. troops.

The battle for Helmand contributes to a troubling security outlook for Afghanistan where the hardline Taliban, in power from 1996 to 2001, are seeking to oust foreign forces and set up an Islamic state.

While Afghan forces with U.S. air support have mostly held out this year, they will be left to battle the growing Taliban insurgency alone after most foreign troops pull out of the country at the end of the year.

Close to half of Afghanistan’s opium is produced in Helmand, according to the United Nations, where yearly output rose by around a third in 2013.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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