As Afghan forces were battling the Taliban, almost running out of ammunitions and suffering from heavy casualties in Sangin, a small deployment of British troops came to provide support.
The Afghan forces were holding on its ground as they tried to counter the Taliban assault on the district of Sangin. Reports revealed that the Afghan fighters have run out of weapons and supplies. In spite of repeated calls for help addressed to the central government in Kabul, no reinforcements were sent.
Instead, British troops, which are part of the UKs delegation to the United Nations Resolute Support Mission, were sent to the district of Sangin to help the Afghan forces.
Sangin is a key district in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, a strategically important fertile poppy-growing area.
According to a police official, the Taliban have taken over almost all of the entire district of Sangin, except for two compounds, the police chief’s compound and the compound of the Afghan National Army battalion
For several days of heavy fighting to hold off the Taliban’s, the Afghans have no more ammunitions and food, but no help was coming.
When asked by CNN of the reason, there was no response from Afghan officials even with repeated calls. It was only on Monday, that the Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah answered that the government had worked out on strategies to assist the forces and fend off the Taliban. However, at that time, President Ashraf Ghani was on travel to Azerbaijan.
The British troops, which were actually deployed for the training, advisory, assistance and counter- terror mission in Afghanistan, have provided help. This small contingent of the British forces was positioned at Camp Shorabak, on the site of Camp Bastion, which is a former British Army headquarters in Afghanistan, the British Defense Ministry reported.
However, these troops are not deployed for combat as part of the NATO. These troops are supposedly not to be deployed outside the camp, the ministry said.
It was in December last year that NATO handed over the security operations in Sangin to the Afghans. For several years, the British and American forces were the ones who have taken position of Sangin to ward off the Taliban.
Sangin is an area, which used to be a British battleground that witnessed the killing of more than 100 British soldiers. According to Stuart Gordon, a Helmand expert, he told Britain’s Press Association news agency that Sangin held a special significance to the British as more than 100 British troops had been killed there.
Sangin is a fertile region that is host to the Afghanistan’s poppy trade. This district lies in the south of the country, an area that was traditionally the center or the heartland of the Taliban. The district of Sangin controls the routes, which plays a very significant part of the resourcing of the political economy of Helmand. Sangin is a major center of drugs processing and drugs shipping,” according to Gordon.
In addition, Sangin is strategically important because it connects the Helmand capital of Lashkar Gah to districts in the north. Thus, if the Taliban controls Sangin, supply routes will be smooth for th Talibans in the North.
In his plea posted in Facebook over the weekend, Mohammad Jan Rasolyaar, deputy governor of Helmand province, initiated an open letter to Ghani. Anytime, he issued a warning that all of Helmand could fall to the Taliban, if the President will not take action.