Taliban in Afghanistan enter Farah city bordering Iran

Sean Reid
May 16, 2018

The Taliban launched a coordinated attack on the Afghan capital of Farah province on Tuesday, forcing the United States to send in A-10 Warthogs in a show of force, according to numerous media reports and a spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

About 300 Taliban militants have been killed in the Farah province in western Afghanistan in clashes with the country's security forces, local media reported, citing the provincial governor.

Another resident said: "The government forces have conducted a number of operations in different parts of the city in the past few days, but this hasn't had any results".

"The Taliban captured several security checkpoints inside and around the city".

Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the defense ministry in Kabul, said security forces from neighboring provinces had been ordered to Farah to protect civilians and government buildings and said the Taliban had been pushed out of the city.

Special police forces from Kandahar and commandos from Herat were also deployed in Farah, Afghan officials said, as heavy fighting continued through May 15.

In the last week Afghan security forces suffered heavy losses in clashes against insurgents across the country, but on Sunday the Afghan interior ministry said that security forces have retreated from some areas that have high threat levels so as to avoid additional fatalities.

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

He said fighting had come close to the provincial governor's house and police headquarters and the governor and other officials had left the city. He said Afghan forces established additional checkpoints to provide security.

The US carried out drone strikes overnight and the Afghan army is still clearing the city, according to Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman warned there could be more fighting Wednesday.

Afghan officials confirmed that a district police chief in Farah died of his wounds on Tuesday, but they denied claims that the deputy provincial police chief had also died, saying he was critically wounded.

The Taliban issued a statement warning residents to remain inside their homes and called on people to "stay calm". Radmanish said four soldiers and "dozens" of insurgents had been killed.

Many radio and television channels in the province have stopped broadcasting, fearing for their employees' lives, according to media watchdog Nai.

"Farah is in dire need of air support", Dadullah Qane, a provincial council member, said by telephone as the fighting went on in the morning.

The assault comes as the Taliban are stepping up their spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture by the Afghan government.

But it has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years.

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