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NATO, Afghan Forces Retake Taliban Stronghold


NATO, Afghan Forces Retake Taliban Stronghold

NATO and Afghan forces have driven out Taliban fighters from their stronghold in southern Afghanistan after days of fighting. Coalition forces held their control over Musa Qala in Helmand province Tuesday, a day after militants retreated from the town.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi confirmed the retreat Monday, but said it was part of a strategic maneuver. The Afghan Defense Ministry says Taliban militants attacked the nearby district of Sangin as they retreated.

Troops began advancing on Musa Qala last week, and entered the town Monday. At the beginning of operations, several militants were killed in an airstrike on a Taliban weapons' supplier.

More than 6,000 Afghan and NATO soldiers are part of the operation to restore civilian government to the town.

Taliban militants overran Musa Qala in February after British troops withdrew and handed over security responsibilities to local elders.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday made his first trip to Afghanistan, where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Brown visited troops at the main British military base in Helmand province, where he thanked them for their sacrifice.

ENDS

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