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Joint operation seizes Taliban area

Afghan soldiers have raised their country's flag over a former Taliban stronghold seized in a joint operation with UK forces.

Sayedebad in central Helmand province was taken on August 2 by British soldiers from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (1 Lancs).

The Afghan flag is now flying over the town, and a shura, or gathering of elders, involving more than 60 tribal leaders and government representatives took place on Monday.

The capture of Sayedebad, located between Nad-e Ali and Marjah in Helmand, was a key objective of Operation Tor Shezada, meaning "Black Prince", which began on July 30.

Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence, commanding officer of 1 Lancs, said there had been little resistance from insurgents and described the operation as "a huge success".

He said the taking of Sayedebad by Nato and Afghan forces was "a huge step forward" for local people.

"The trick is now to secure the town with our Afghan partners, and that will set the conditions for reconstruction and development to take place, but, importantly, for the district governor to get down here, meet his people, confirm their needs, and then start to improve their quality of life," he said.

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