Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Taliban launch large-scale assault on western Afghanistan city of Farah

Taliban launch large-scale assault on western Afghanistan city of Farah

A provincial council member in Farah, Dadullah Qani, said that the insurgents left the city after Afghan security forces began searching for them house by house, and that they had left behind booby-trapped bombs.

Since the launch of the Taliban's spring offensive last month, the group has carried out several attacks in the capital, Kabul, and battled security forces in several provinces, taking additional districts in recent weeks.

Special forces from Kandahar and Herat were rushed to the city to take part in the fighting, which residents said began around midnight. Taliban fighters have also attacked the city's hospital, where they killed two wounded Afghan police officers.

A government spokesmen on Tuesday confirmed the Taliban had overrun several security checkposts, but denied reports of key areas of the city falling into the militants' hands.

However, they have been pushed back, officials said on Wednesday morning.

Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attacks in Ghazni.

"Heavy fighting continues inside the city and aircraft have just started bombarding Taliban positions", she told Agence France-Presse earlier on Tuesday from inside Farah.

Farah province, which borders Iran, has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years, and there have always been fears that the city is vulnerable.

Satar Hissaini, a tribal elder in Farah, told AFP that although the situation is "very bad", the city was being defended.

The noise has "filled the city", said one resident who gave his name as Bilal, adding that he could see smoke rising from the direction of a building housing the NDS.

Bakhtawer said casualties were high among security forces, but could not provide a precise number.

NATO's Resolute Support mission in Kabul said the government remained in control of the city.

According to a statement by MoD, the Taliban insurgents launched a coordinated attack at 2:00 am on Tuesday, initially launching their attack from Shebkoh district and managed to seize some parts of Farah city after intruding into the city from its northern parts.

"NDS forces in their headquarters are engaged in heavy clashes with the Taliban".

The attack on Farah is the first siege of a provincial capital this year.

"They kill one, and they claim three", said General Mohammad Radmanish, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence. Despite the pressure of greatly stepped-up USA and Afghan airstrikes, the Taliban have shown little interest in the Afghan government's offer of a comprehensive peace agreement.

Farah, which borders Iran, has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years.

Although the insurgents have been unable to take and hold any provincial center, they are active across Afghanistan and the government has firm control over no more than 56 percent of the country, according to U.S. estimates.

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