Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

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

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

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack on a government building in eastern Afghanistan that killed 10 people and wounded more than 40.

Heavy fighting has broken out in the western Afghan city of Farah after the Taliban launched a major offensive overnight to capture the provincial capital.

However, videos clips circulating in social media show Taliban fighters searching cars on the main square of Farah city.

Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for Taliban said large scale attacks will continue in Farah and he warned civilians to remain inside their houses.

"I saw two rickshaw drivers on the ground with their arms blown off", said Khan Mohammad, a local resident who saw the initial blasts and the start of the gun battle.

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Another resident said: "The government forces have conducted a number of operations in different parts of the city in the past few days, but this hasn't had any results".

"Security checkpoints around the city have collapsed into the hands of the Taliban, causing high casualties among security forces", Bakhtawer said.

Farah also has a border with Helmand province, where the Taliban controls several districts.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that Afghan security forces were able to repel their attacks.

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

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

The attack, which comes as the Taleban step up their annual spring offensive, began around midnight, with the insurgents capturing one district and parts of another, local provincial council member Jamila Amini told AFP on Tuesday (May 15) from inside the city.

Many radio and television channels in the province have stopped broadcasting, fearing for their employees' lives, according to media watchdog Nai.

After several hours of fighting that sent plumes of smoke rising into the sky above the accounts office, Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said that Sunday's clash had ended with all the gunmen killed.

Farah, which borders Iran, has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years. Kunduz was subsequently retaken by the government both times.

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A resurgent Taliban, largely dependent on narcotics revenues, has expanded its sway in the country since the withdrawal of most worldwide combat forces at the end of 2014.

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