UK troops take Taleban stronghold

British troops in Afghanistan are undertaking their biggest operation since the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

UK troops take Taleban stronghold

Three hundred soldiers - backed by hundreds of American and Canadian troops - have taken control of Sangin in the southern province of Helmand.

Six British troops have been killed in or near the town in recent weeks.

Military chiefs earlier defended their decision to call in US planes to drop 500lb bombs on Taleban fighters in the nearby town of Nawzad.

Compounds searched

Apache helicopters led the way early on Saturday for Chinooks which dropped the British troops on the ground - much of the fighting force of 3 Para battle group.

They were backed up by a further 700 coalition troops.

Sangin map

They sealed off the town and targeted a number of compounds which are being searched.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said it was an ongoing 'cordon and search' operation.

"The purpose of it is to disrupt Taleban activities which in recent weeks have included attacks on both Afghan security forces and and coalition forces in this area," she said.

"During this operation suspected Taleban opened fire on UK helicopters from at least one location with at least four RPGs and in response to this a single missile and 30 rounds of a 30mm cannon were returned.

"When the firing point was later secured, two dead Taleban were found. Four Afghan women were also found in the vicinity, one of whom had been slightly hurt. They have obviously been given medical attention.

"Two soldiers were injured with minor injuries. Both have been evacuated and both are expected to make a full recovery."

A total of 1,000 British personnel were involved including hundreds in supporting roles.

Alastair Leithead, a BBC correspondent in Afghanistan, said the UK military was trying to secure the "hearts and minds" of the local population by bringing security to the area and bringing "development behind it".

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16