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The Boston Globe


Reports conflict on Afghan battle in Helmand

Coalition plays down account by government

KABUL — The Taliban attacked Afghan police posts in a violent and long-contested corner of southern Afghanistan, setting off two days of clashes that left at least six police officers dead, Afghan officials said Tuesday, though the US-led coalition played down the violence as little more than “drive-by shootings.”

The Afghan government portrayed the fighting in the Sangin district of Helmand Province, which began Monday, as a major victory for its forces, with officials describing a massive Taliban effort to overrun the area. Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor, put the number of attackers at 1,000 and said Arab and Chechen insurgents — that is, Al Qaeda members — were fighting alongside the Taliban.

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