Fighting resumes in southern Afghanistan as ceasefire ends

There were clashes on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, which has seen intense fighting since the United States began its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1, an Afghan military spokesman and a local official said.

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Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces resumed Sunday in the restive southern province of Helmand, officials said, ending a three-day ceasefire agreed by the warring sides to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

There were clashes on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, which has seen intense fighting since the United States began its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1, an Afghan military spokesman and a local official said.

“The fighting started early today morning and is still ongoing,” Attaullah Afghan, head of the Helmand provincial council, told AFP.

He said Taliban fighters attacked security checkpoints on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah and other districts.

An Afghan army spokesman in the south confirmed fighting had resumed.

The three-day truce initiated by the Taliban and swiftly agreed to by the Afghan government had largely held during the Eid holidays that ended last night.

At least 12 people were killed at a mosque outside Kabul, however, by a bomb blast claimed by the jihadist Islamic State group.

Before the ceasefire, violence had surged in several provinces of Afghanistan — including former insurgent bastions Helmand and Kandahar.

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