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Coalition troops retake Afghan towns
by ALJ
Wednesday Jul 19th, 2006 6:13 AM
Afghan and coalition troops have reclaimed the second of two southern towns in Afghanistan that had been overrun by Taliban insurgents.
Hundreds of ground forces battled Taliban fighters before entering the town of Garmser in the Helmand province on Wednesday, said General Rahmatullah Roufi, the Afghan army commander in the country's south.

"Our troops launched an attack on Garmser and thank God we captured it," Roufi told The Associated Press.

The operation in Garmser, a town of more than 50,000 on the Helmand River, followed a similar offensive the day before to root out Taliban fighters from Naway-i-Barakzayi, about 30km to the north.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Fitzpatrick, a US spokesman, said Afghan and coalition forces "skirmished" with Taliban fighters outside Garmser "but met no resistance once inside".

Two Afghan soldiers were wounded in the operation.

Coalition forces met town leaders to try to hunt down the Taliban members who fled, Fitzpatrick said.

Limited defence

"The Taliban appears to be bullying their way around some of the smaller towns in remote areas but they have no capability to lay claim to any piece of ground," Fitzpatrick said.

by BBC (reposted)
Wednesday Jul 19th, 2006 6:14 AM
US-led and Afghan forces say they have retaken two Taleban-held towns in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.

Taleban fighters had seized the areas of Garmser and Naway-i-Barakazayi earlier in the week.

Two Afghan soldiers were slightly hurt in the operation, the US-led coalition said. There have also been reports that many locals have fled the area.

Some 10,000 US-led troops are fighting the Taleban and their allies. Hundreds of people have been killed this year.

General Rahmatullah Roufi, an Afghan army commander, told the Associated Press that hundreds of troops had battled Taleban fighters before entering Garmser on Tuesday.

"Our troops launched an attack on Garmser and thank God we captured it," he said.

The operation in Garmser followed a similar operation to retake the town of Naway-i-Barakazayi.