As many as ten Afghan forces were killed in a Taliban attack on an Afghan army outpost in the southern Helmand province, security officials at the 215 Maiwand Corps said. An Afghan army outpost in Sangin district of Helmand province came under attack by the Taliban insurgents around 4:30 am, on Saturday, December 28, a statement issued by the Afghan forces read. According to the statement four other Afghan forces were wounded in the attack.

The Taliban control a large swaths of the southern Helmand province which shares border with Pakistan. Sangin is a rich production center of opium in Helmand which serves a Taliban stronghold, and the group have enjoyed growing influence and power in the province.  

Omar Zawak, spokesperson for Helmand governor, told Kabul Now that the insurgents had carried out an attack on an Afghan army outpost in Charkhakan area of Sangin district.

The Taliban have claimed reponsibity for the attack. In statement, they have claimed to have killed 20 Afghan forces.    

Why Sangin is under attack by Taliban?

Once serving as center for international forces in the southern Afghanistan, Sangin is a key district that connects the capital Lashkar Gah to province’s northern districts. For the Taliban, Sangin serves a key district that can give them full control to cut communication a supply between the northern districts of Helmand and Lashkar Gah, the capital of province.

Control over Sangin—which is a rich district in opium production—will increase Taliban’s income. In the areas under their control, the group have been collecting tax from cultivation of poppy, production and trafficking of opium, a trade that has kept fueling the engine of Taliban’s war machine.

The attack on Afghan security forces comes while the United States and the Taliban political representatives are negotiating a peace settlement behind closed doors to end war in Afghanistan. The Taliban insurgents have not stopped killing Afghan forces and civilians though their political leaders seek a peace settlement with the Americans.

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