Taliban claim capturing key areas as clashes still ongoing in Farah city

  • Taliban claim capturing key areas as clashes still ongoing in Farah city

Taliban claim capturing key areas as clashes still ongoing in Farah city

Farah Province has been a key battleground for the Taliban for months.

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.

The attack - the first major assault targeting a provincial capital since the Taliban announced its annual spring offensive - began when several security checkpoints were overrun after midnight, with the militants capturing one urban district and parts of another, according to provincial-council member Jamila Amini.

Najib Danish, Afghanistan's interior ministry spokesman, vowed: '(The Taliban) will fail.' He said both Afghan and foreign air forces were taking part in the fighting.

"The Taliban are moving very fast, if the government does not take serious and speedy action, the province is going to collapse to Taliban", local resident Hamidullah said.

The Taliban controls several nearby districts, but the US and Afghan forces have been working to retake them.

"U.S. Forces-Afghanistan stand firm beside our Afghan partners and will continue to reinforce this Afghan-led offensive", the statement said. It followed months of repeated attacks that have inflicted heavy casualties on government forces on the outskirts of Farah.

On Monday, officials said in 19 days the Taliban has carried out over 2,700 attacks around the country.

According to a local hospital official, at least two people were killed and 16 more were injured, including Abdul Raziq Sherzad, the deputy police chief.

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

Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban in recent years, as the insurgents have seized several districts across the country. They have intensified armed attacks against security forces across the country since April 25 when the Taliban's so-called yearly rebel offensive started.

But the commander of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said on May 11 that the Taliban "cannot win militarily".

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.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility.