Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Taleban claim to have taken control of western Afghan city of Farah

Afghan commandoes and the US air force have driven the Taliban to the outskirts of the western provincial capital of Farah officials said Wednesday Afghan capital Kabul hit by explosion
Jan Cook | 16 May, 2018, 15:07

Taliban insurgents launched attacks from multiple directions on the capital of Farah province in western Afghanistan near the border with Iran early Tuesday, killing and wounding "dozens" of security forces, a local official said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at least six security forces were killed and 12 others, including the deputy provincial police chief, were wounded in the fighting.

The US military said in a statement that it had A-10 warplanes over the city, "which remains under government control".

Abdullah said in parts of the country Afghan soldiers have been surrounded by Taliban for months, but in recent days the National Security Council and the Supreme Commander meetings were not held to address soldiers' problems and to send them support.

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.

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

"There is no danger of Farah city collapsing into the hands of Taliban", he added.

Taliban fighters stand guard as senior leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, not pictured, delivers a speech to his fighters, in Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.

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But inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing.

Defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said pockets of resistance remained, but "our forces are battling the enemy with high morale".

"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. "This is the normal stuff by people who can not win at the ballot box, so they turn to bombs", Mattis said when asked about a day of bloodshed in Afghanistan that left dozens dead, including many children and journalists.

In January, NATO's Resolute Support Mission, tasked with building up the Afghan government's security forces, assessed that almost 15 percent of the country's 407 districts - more than 20 percent of the landmass - was under insurgent control or influence, according to a watchdog report released this month.

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 Taliban are stepping up their spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture from the government.

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

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. Officials have warned of a deteriorating security situation as insurgents have entered the capital several times.

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