Sources on the ground in Afghanistan tell American Military News that on January 1st, 2017 Afghan time, the Afghan city of Sangin, widely known for the battle that took place there in mid-2010, has been completely retaken by the Taliban from the Afghan National Army.
The Battle of Sangin in 2010 is considered one of the the bloodiest battlegrounds in Afghanistan. American and British forces each lost 100 service members there and incurred several hundred more casualties while taking control of the city in 2010.
This news carries some degree of sadness to many U.S Marine veterans, some of whom lost friends fighting bloody battles to control the city in 2010. Aptly referred to as “Bangin’ Sangin” by some 3rd Bn 7th Marines who partook in the initial clearing operations, the battle of Sangin would go down as one of the biggest Marine operations in the Afghanistan theater.
Daniel Sharp, a former U.S. Marine who served a tour in Sangin told American Military News, “I did a tour in Sangin and this breaks my heart. All my sacrifices, all the danger I exposed myself to, all the blood my comrades spilled, for nothing.”
However, over 500 local civilians and police have banded together from all over southern Afghanistan to reinforce beleaguered Afghan security forces who are locked in combat to keep the last remaining cities surrounding Sangin from falling to Taliban control.
The Taliban has increased pressure in their renewed campaign to retake the cities around southern Helmand Province, continuously deploying suicide bombers with deadly effect. In late October, 14 police and civilians were killed when a vehicle exploded, with three more wounded in the same way only last week. Local security forces have lauded the arrival of the 500 volunteers who are being used to help police reinforce key checkpoints and security stations to prevent further destruction of key roads and bridges by the Taliban.
A spokesperson for the Afghan Security Forces felt confident the Taliban would be pushed out of the city of Sangin quickly, despite Taliban fighters having made a steady push through the neighboring districts in relatively short time. The Taliban currently claim they control over 41 districts throughout Afghanistan while laying siege to another six.