Taliban pushed back in region of strategic importance

Afghan forces backed by US air strikes pushed back a Taliban onslaught on Friday in a strategically important district in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, officials said. Sangin district had been besieged by the insurgents for weeks before an uptick in the ferocity of the fight this week sparked concerns it could fall to Taliban control. But civilian and military officials said Sangin remained in government hands after the United States conducted two airstrikes overnight, and Afghan military helicopters dropped food and ammunition to soldiers and police who had been surrounded and trapped inside the district army base for days.