Taliban battle into west Afghan city in new crisis for government

15 May, 2018, 16:24 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

Special police forces from Kandahar and commandos from Herat had also been deployed in Farah, Afghan officials said.

The Taliban had captured a police district on the city's edge, he said.

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.

Early Tuesday, Ahmad Zaki, a doctor at the city's central hospital, said that so far two dead police officers and 16 wounded security forces members had been brought to the medical facility since the start of the latest assault.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

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The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North said Monday at least seven Taliban militants were killed and four others were wounded during a clash in Khanabad district on Sarak Naw highway in northern Kunduz province.

Farah Province also borders Helmand Province, where the Taliban controls several districts.

A resurgent Taliban, largely dependent on narcotics revenues, has expanded its territorial control over parts of Afghanistan since the withdrawal of most worldwide combat forces at the end of 2014.

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

Satar Hissaini, a tribal elder in Farah, told AFP: "The situation is very bad".

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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.

"The sounds of explosions and gunfire have filled the city", a resident said.

Farah, Ghor, Baghlan, Nangarhar and Zabul are among 10 provinces that have witnessed ongoing heavy clashes between security forces and Taliban in recent days and the continuation of the clashes have raised concerns among the people, MPs and politicians. Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents.

Farah is a poppy-growing province in a hard to reach part of Afghanistan which a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline will traverse.

Farah has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years. In 2017 insurgents tried three times to overrun the capital, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

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