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Afghan Forces Recapture Symbolic Southern District

Afghan officials say government forces, backed by NATO air strikes, have regained control of a strategic southern district seized by the Taliban earlier this week.

The operation to retake the district of Musa Qala, in volatile Helmand Province, was launched on August 28 -- two days after it fell to the Taliban.

"A comprehensive operation led by chief of the army staff, managed to retake Musa Qala in which 220 enemies were killed and wounded," Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The town of Musa Qala, which straddles opium farms and smuggling routes, was first wrenched from the Taliban eight years ago.

Violence has increased sharply across Afghanistan since the U.S.-led military coalition formally ended its combat mission last year and left a contingent of about 12,000 NATO troops to train and assist Afghan forces fighting the Taliban-led insurgency.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP