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

16 May, 2018, 11:47 | Author: Carlos George
  • Heavy clashes in W. Afghanistan city as major Taliban offensive kicks off (VIDEO)

In a further attack, 11 children were killed and 16 people wounded, including Romanian and Afghan security force members, when a suicide attacker exploded his auto near a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation convoy in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said.

Samihullah Samim, a lawmaker from Farah, said parts of the city are under Taliban control, with heavy fighting underway just 300 metres from the governor's residence.

Militants briefly took the capital of northern Kunduz province in late 2015 and threatened to take it again in 2016, but they have since failed to take a single capital - a fact frequently touted by US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials, who say government forces are becoming more capable in battling the insurgents.

Fared Bakhtawer, head of the Farah provincial council, says several security checkpoints were overrun by Taliban fighters on Tuesday morning and that an intense gunbattle was ongoing in the city.

Farah province has seen heavy fighting in recent months, with local officials and tribal elders requesting additional forces to support the overburdened army and police.

Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warplanes also took part in the battle.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault on Farah in a statement to media, saying they attacked from multiple directions.

Police special forces from Kandahar and commandos from Herat have also been deployed to the province which borders Iran, according to Afghan officials.

"The situation is under control and will change by the end of the day", he said.

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Inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing.

Taliban militants, who ruled the country before being ousted in late 2001, have intensified armed attacks against security forces since April 25 during their annual rebel offensive.

The 207th Zafar Corps of the Afghan Military in the West said the militants have been suppressed both inside the city as well as in the outskirts of the capital of Farah.

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

The Taliban assault was the biggest by the group since the militant regime was ousted from power in 2001.

Another provincial council member, Dadullah Qani, confirmed Hissaini's comments, the sound of gunfire and explosions audible as he spoke to an AFP reporter by telephone.

The insurgents released a statement warning residents to remain inside their homes and called on people to "stay calm". There are plans for a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline to traverse it, a project with which the Taliban have pledged to cooperate.

District centers have been lost or threatened in the northern provinces of Baghlan and Badakhshan and there has been heavy fighting in Faryab in the northwest and Ghazni and Zabul, south of Kabul.

In 2017, insurgents tried to overrun the capital three times, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

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