Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Taliban launch huge assault on western Afghan city

Taliban launch huge assault on western Afghan city

Taliban militants attacked Farah city, provincial capital of western Afghan province of Farah early Tuesday, in a coordinated effort to seize full control of the city, a provincial security source said.

Fared Bakhtawer, head of the provincial council, offered a different picture, however, saying that several security checkpoints in Farah were overrun by the Taliban.

"We assure the people of Farah that all the operations implemented, air force, commandos and all other units stationed in the western part of the country are taking action", the Defense Ministry said.

The residents feared that the Taliban radical movement would gain control of the city if the government did not send more troops soon, the media outlet said.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and IS since the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat role in the country in 2014, shifting to a support and counterterrorism mission.

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Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility. "Six security forces have been killed in clashes with the Taliban and a security police official was wounded in the clashes", he said.

Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, a lawmaker form Farah province, also confirmed the Taliban attacks.

"Heavy fighting is going on and Taliban are in the city but the police headquarters and NDS (the Afghan intelligence agency) have not fallen to them", he said. The governor of the province stepped down in January, blaming the worsening security situation and what he said was political interference and corruption.

"Heavy fighting continues inside the city and aircraft have just started bombarding Taliban positions", local provincial council member Jamila Amini told AFP.

Residents in Farah have long warned that the city was vulnerable.

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A doctor from the provincial hospital in Farah, who did not want to be identified, said so far two dead and 16 wounded members of the Afghan security forces, as well as five wounded civilians including women and children, had been taken to the hospital.

The province has been the scene of heavy clashes between Taliban and security forces over the past few months.

Farah is a poppy-growing province in a hard to reach part of Afghanistan.

"The Taliban captured several security checkpoints inside and around the city". In 2017 insurgents tried three times to overrun the capital, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

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