Sangin, Afghanistan: Taliban stronghold, “Afghanistan’s Fallujah”

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent

“I’d tell anyone now don’t come here because I’d never want to come here again,” one soldier told me this summer at a Sangin patrol base hemmed in by all sides by insurgents.

“This place is different to anywhere else; really it’s a Taliban stronghold,” he added.

The town is likely to remain a Taliban redoubt because it always has been and there is little desire, or resources, to tackle Sangin’s problems. The centre for the narcotics trade and a hub for warring tribes the complexities of Sangin’s problems are deep.

But the town is also the testing ground for the Taliban where an average of 400 external fighters come each year to “earn their stripes” and the fighting is of an intensity not found anywhere else in Helmand. On average there are 15 small arms fire contacts a day and 15 IEDs found a week.

No wonder then that troops nicknamed Sangin the “bastard child of Helmand” or “Afghanistan’s Fallujah”.

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