Afghan police refuse to return to district under attack by Taliban

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Afghan police are refusing to return to the streets of a volatile southern district under Taliban attack, claiming that promised government help has not yet arrived, an Afghan official said Tuesday.

See Full Article

According to Karim Atal, the director of the Helmand provincial council, security forces are for now staying inside their base in Sangin district, where government forces have been fighting a Taliban takeover attempt for weeks.

Sangin is a major poppy-growing district in Helmand - the heartland of the Taliban - that produces most of the world's opium, the cash crop that funds the insurgency.

In comments to The Associated Press, Atal also dismissed reports that a military clearing operation had begun in the district. Taliban attempts to overrun Sangin peaked last week when fighters besieged the base, cutting off supply lines for troops, ammunition and food.

Days later, acting Defence Minister Masoom Stanekzai said reinforcements of special forces and commandoes had been deployed. A series of U.S. airstrikes followed and a small contingent of British troops were deployed as advisers for the over-stretched Afghan forces, which eventually helped break the siege.

In a sharp rebuke of the central authorities in Kabul, Atal said with army and police hunkered down inside the base in Sangin, "that's the only way they can claim that the district has not fallen" to the Taliban.

The Afghan police have been fighting the insurgency on the front lines and have sustained high casualties as they lack the arms, equipment and facilities of the army, despite doing the same job.

In the past three months, Atal also said, the fighting in four districts of Helmand had killed about 700 policemen and wounded 500. In addition, precise casualty figures were often difficult to obtain as the police lacked a "proper management system," he added.

Total casualty figures for Afghan security forces have not been made public by the defence or interior ministries, but are said by NATO military sources to be 28 per cent higher than in 2014, when the total toll was around 5,000.

The Afghan forces have had a tough year on the battlefield, for the first time having to fight the insurgents alone, following the drawdown of international combat troops at the end of last year. The Taliban have used this to step up their offensives across the country.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Parkland teens keep gun-control grown-ups at arm's length

    World News CTV News
    Before the shooting had even stopped, teenagers hiding at their Florida high school were talking about gun control. Within days, they had launched a crusade against gun violence -- one that will result in a nationwide series of protests Saturday. Source
  • Koreas to hold high-level talks next week to set up summit

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- The rival Koreas have agreed to hold high-level talks next week to prepare for an April summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Source
  • Trump order would ban most transgender troops from serving

    World News CTV News
    PALM BEACH, Fla. -- U.S. President Donald Trump released an order Friday night banning most transgender troops from serving in the military except under "limited circumstances," following up on his calls last year to ban transgender individuals from serving. Source
  • FBI seeks motive for fiery van crash at California air base

    World News CTV News
    ROSEVILLE, Calif. -- A 51-year-old man drove a flaming minivan loaded with propane tanks and gasoline cans through the main gate of a major Northern California Air Force base, authorities said Friday, but said the driver had no known links to terrorism. Source
  • Teen injured in Maryland school shooting dies

    World News CBC News
    A 16-year-old girl critically shot on Tuesday by a fellow student at a Maryland high school has died, authorities said. The girl, Jaelynn Willey, died late Thursday surrounded by her family, the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Friday. Source
  • Calgary has run out of room to store all that snow

    Canada News CBC News
    After one of the snowiest winters Calgary in recent years, its finally happened. The city has literally run out of places to put the snow. The director of Calgary Roads, Troy McLeod, said there's pretty much no room left at the city's three snow dumps. Source
  • Dozens line up to adopt animals abandoned at Edmonton pet store

    Canada News CBC News
    Animal lovers in Edmonton lined up for hours Friday at the Edmonton Humane Society for a chance to adopt a pet from nearly 500 cats, dogs, fish, reptiles and even spiders. "We're a family that loves dogs so we thought we'd help them out," said John Grady, who with his son Jackson met the dog that will become the latest member of their family. Source
  • McGill bans bottled water from vending machines on campus

    Canada News CTV News
    Students at McGill University soon won’t be able to buy bottled water from vending machines as the university rolls out a campus-wide ban. The step, which falls in line with World Water Day, will eliminate the sale of about 85,000 water bottles each year. Source
  • No charges after Ohio deputy shoots news photographer, mistaking camera for gun

    World News CTV News
    SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- Investigators say no charges will be filed against an Ohio sheriff's deputy who shot a news photographer setting up to photograph a traffic stop. Clark County Deputy Jacob Shaw said he mistook photographer Andrew Grimm's camera for a gun when he shot him twice, once in the side and once in the shoulder, last year in New Carlisle, about 60 miles (97 kilometres) west of Columbus. Source
  • Alberta premier calls B.C. complaints about high gas prices environmental hypocrisy

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says if British Columbia wants to keep gasoline prices low it should stop opposing the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion. B.C. Premier John Horgan said Thursday he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices. Source