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Officials: Afghan army routes Taliban from key southern district in first solo offensive

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KABUL, Afghanistan — An American general and a senior Afghan police officer say the Afghan military has pushed the Taliban from a key district in a southern province. It was the first solo Afghan operation since international combat troops left at the end of last year.

U.S. Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, deputy chief of staff for U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan, says that Sangin in Helmand province, long a Taliban stronghold, was finally cleared of insurgents on Friday morning.

Fuller told The Associated Press that the Afghan forces "secured Sangin" and that the "whole district has been cleared." He says it was a full-force operation, including police and special forces.

Gen. Mohammad Salim Ahses, Afghanistan's national police chief, says that after Sangin, the troops are heading toward the Taliban-held Kajaki district.

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