Taliban attacks repelled in Afghanistan's Helmand


More than 40 Taliban fighters were killed as the group launched a series of coordinated attacks across the southern province of Helmand, security and provincial officials said Friday.

The attacks in Helmand, one of the most insecure provinces in Afghanistan, where militants control large swathes of land, targeted security forces in Grishk district from late Thursday to Friday afternoon.

Five members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) were killed in a car bomb attack, Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, told Anadolu Agency.

Mohammad Dawood, spokesman for the National Directorate of Security, said the attacks on checkpoints were all beaten back.

"Commando forces and the Afghan Air Force repulsed these attacks, and killed 42 armed Taliban and injured seven others," he said.

The provincial government also confirmed more than 40 Taliban deaths over a 12-hour period around Gerishk, which lies around 30 kilometers (18 miles) northeast of Lashkar Gah on the Helmand River.

The first attack on Thursday evening in the Yakhchal area saw militants use a stolen Humvee and explosive-laden vehicles to attack ANSF posts.

The governor's office said their target was a bridge vital to a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline project linking Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

On Friday, Taliban fighters stormed a money exchange market in the center of Gerishk but the assault was repelled by commandos.

At around 11.30 a.m. local time (0700GMT), they tried to use an explosives-packed Humvee to attack a security cordon in the Adam Khan area, the governor's office said in a statement.

In an online statement, the Taliban claimed to have killed 40 ANSF troops in Grishk.

Last month, the ANSF, backed by U.S. airpower, took Nawa-I-Barakzayi district to the south of Lashkar Gah after more than a year of Taliban occupation.

Since then, attacks have occurred across the province.

Meanwhile, senior Afghan officers meet their Pakistani counterparts in Peshawar, northwest Pakistan, on Friday to discuss security.

A statement from the Pakistan Army said Afghan officers led by Lt. Gen. Mohammad Zaman Waziri met Lt. Gen. Nazir Ahmed Butt, commander of the Peshawar Corps, and others.

"Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to continue their fight against terrorism," the statement said. "Both sides concluded that peace and stability can best be achieved through complementary efforts and enhanced cooperation."

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