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US general: Attacks dropping in Taliban stronghold

CAMP PENDLETON, California — A recent agreement with leaders of the largest tribe in a Taliban stronghold to halt insurgent attacks on coalition forces and expel foreign fighters is working so far, the senior US Marine general in Afghanistan said Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Richard Mills told reporters in a conference call from Helmand province that Marines have come under almost no gunfire in the center of Sangin district in the past month.
Mills, who commands coalition forces in southwest Afghanistan, expects the violence to pick up once the weather warms but not to the previous levels. The area has witnessed some of the country's heaviest fighting in the war.
Mills announced last month that a deal had been struck between local elders in Afghanistan's Sangin district and Helmand Gov. Gulabuddin Mangal, with the consultation of coalition forces. Shortly after the announcement, six Afghan civilians were killed when their minivan hit a roadside bomb in Sangin district Jan. 15.
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