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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
UK military claim Taleban defeat
British troops in Afghanistan
UK troops have suffered increased losses in recent weeks
The Taleban are tactically defeated in Helmand, the commander of the UK forces in Afghanistan has said.

Brigadier Ed Butler told the BBC that Nato had inflicted significant casualties on the Taleban who had failed to remove them from the south.

"We have killed a considerable number of their mid-level and high-level commanders," he said.

And a secret deal has brought a halt to violence in Musa Qala, a district which had seen intense fighting, he added.

He told the BBC's Alastair Leithead a peace deal had been struck with the elders of Musa Qala - one of the district centres where British soldiers have had to defend intense attacks over the past three months - following a "secret meeting" in the desert.
We know they are having difficulty in getting their casualties out, we know the morale of the ordinary foot soldiers in the Taleban has been affected
Brigadier Ed Butler

This and the fewer number of clashes in recent days were a sign, he said, that the Taleban was tactically defeated ahead of the winter.

The brigadier's comments come as the Marines prepare to take over from the Parachute Regiment.

"So we are seeing that tactical fight... I think we've won, we may not be quite there yet this year," said Brig Butler, the outgoing commander of British forces.

"We have inflicted considerable damage on them."

The Taleban are having difficulty in getting arms and ammunition through and they are having difficulty in getting their casualties out, he said.

"We know the morale of the ordinary foot soldiers in the Taleban has been affected and that's been demonstrated by mid-level commanders having to get into the frontline to try to reassure them and bolster them up."

However, ground troops have questioned whether the dip in fighting is merely a sign that the Taleban is regrouping.




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