Asia

Afghan official: Taliban capture district in Helmand

  • In this Sunday, July 24, 2016 photo, a U.S. military personal stands guard during a graduation ceremony in Lashkargah, capital of southern Helmand province, Afghanistan. An important district in Afghanistan's southern poppy-growing province of Helmand has fallen to Taliban control after heavy fighting that killed or wounded up to 20 police officers, an official said on Saturday. (AP Photos/Abdul Khaliq)

    In this Sunday, July 24, 2016 photo, a U.S. military personal stands guard during a graduation ceremony in Lashkargah, capital of southern Helmand province, Afghanistan. An important district in Afghanistan's southern poppy-growing province of Helmand has fallen to Taliban control after heavy fighting that killed or wounded up to 20 police officers, an official said on Saturday. (AP Photos/Abdul Khaliq)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sunday, July 24, 2016 photo, Afghan police soldiers practice, in Lashkargah, capital of southern Helmand province, Afghanistan. An important district in Afghanistan's southern poppy-growing province of Helmand has fallen to Taliban control after heavy fighting that killed or wounded up to 20 police officers, an official said on Saturday. (AP Photos/Abdul Khaliq)

    In this Sunday, July 24, 2016 photo, Afghan police soldiers practice, in Lashkargah, capital of southern Helmand province, Afghanistan. An important district in Afghanistan's southern poppy-growing province of Helmand has fallen to Taliban control after heavy fighting that killed or wounded up to 20 police officers, an official said on Saturday. (AP Photos/Abdul Khaliq)  (The Associated Press)

  • Afghan police soldiers inspect the site of a bomb attack, in Herat, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi)

    Afghan police soldiers inspect the site of a bomb attack, in Herat, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi)  (The Associated Press)

An Afghan official says an important district in Helmand province has fallen to Taliban control after heavy fighting that killed or wounded up to 20 police officers.

Abdul Majeed Akhonzada, deputy director of the provincial council, said Saturday that Kanashin district has "fallen into Taliban hands."

Kanashin borders Pakistan and major poppy-producing districts, and is an important drug smuggling route.

Akhonzada says the district police chief and deputy head of the intelligence agency were critically wounded in clashes late Friday.

Precise casualty figures can't be confirmed, he says, as bodies litter the ground and fighting is ongoing.

The fall of Kanashin follows a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction concluding that government forces have lost five percent of the territory they held at the end of January.