World Media

Taliban storms major city in western Afghanistan

Taliban storms major city in western Afghanistan

U.S. and Afghan aircraft yesterday bombed Taliban positions in the western city of Farah after the insurgents launched a major attempt to capture the provincial capital, with fearful residents seeking shelter from explosions and gunfire.

Fareed Bakthawar, chairman of the provincial council, informed Anadolu Agency the Taliban managed to enter Farah city in the wee-hours of Tuesday, and are engaged in heavy clashes with the security forces. "There is no danger of Farah city collapsing into the hands of Taliban", he said.

Farah province, 695 km west of Kabul and bordering Iran, has been the scene of heavy clashes between Taliban and security forces over the past few months.

He said at least six security forces were killed and 12 others, including the deputy provincial police chief, were wounded in the fighting.

The Taliban, equipped with HUMVEEs and Afghan police pickup trucks, attacked multiple Farah City checkpoints and took over an intelligence headquarters, according to Long War Journal.

Reinforcements including commando units as well as the Afghan air force were battling Taliban fighters around the city, he said.

The attack on Farah was the first on a provincial capital this year.

O'Donnell said that the fighting is expected to go into the night and even tomorrow, and that USA advisers are on the ground, but not involved in the fighting to his knowledge.

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The areas under the Taliban control would be recaptured as soon as possible, he said.

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

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, in a busy area of the city with many other official buildings nearby, including a school in which about 1,000 girls were trapped as the fighting raged.

Kabul officials acknowledged to local media that security forces had suffered recent casualties in fighting to retake parts of Farah, Baghlan and Ghor provinces, though some defense officials disputed reports that military losses had reached 700 dead and wounded in recent weeks.

"The Taliban have nowhere to hide", Gen. John Nicholson, commander of Resolute Support in Afghanistan, said in February.

Through a spokesman, the Taliban told the city's residents earlier in the day to stay in their homes, promising they wouldn't be harmed and that only military facilities were being targeted.

Violence has escalated across Afghanistan since the announcement of the Taliban's annual spring offensive last month and there have been heightened security fears around preparations for elections in October.


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