Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

U.S. and Afghanistan launch air strikes as Taliban attack western city

Canadian soldiers patrol an area in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday Canadian soldiers patrol an area in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday
Deanna Wagner | 15 May, 2018, 22:19

Taliban fighters overran parts of western Farah city early Tuesday but were reportedly repelled by late evening as Afghan ground troops and reinforcements, backed by USA and Afghan airstrikes, fought for hours to prevent the insurgents from capturing a second city since the conflict began in 2002.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said at least six security forces were killed and 12 others, including the deputy provincial police chief, were wounded in the attack. The fighters launched the attacks from four directions on the city, which has over 50,000 residents.

By midday, gunshots could be heard around Farah's central prison, intelligence department and police headquarters, only a few kilometers from the compound of the provincial governor, near the Iran-Afghanistan border.

"The Afghan National Defense and Security forces supported by USA forces in Afghanistan air power are on the offensive against the Taliban", he added.

Deadly clashes re-erupted in Farah early morning as the Taliban launched a second round of coordinated assaults in the week.

"Government reinforcements have arrived including around 100 commando forces". The group said in April that this year's campaign, called 'Al Khandaq, ' is in response to US President Donald Trump's aggressive military strategy to force the militants into peace talks. "Gunfight, airstrikes and explosions are taking place around the city", he said.

But inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing.

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Another provincial council member, Dadullah Qani, confirmed Hissaini's comments.

The latest reports say the terrorist group is still two-miles away from the city center. and the battle is still underway.

"The people are running from the city and the situation is very bad", said a resident of Farah.

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

Despite security concerns, the Taliban have pledged to cooperate with the project.

Footage released on social media shows that a number of security forces' vehicles have been torched and that the Taliban have entered a building used by the security forces.

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.