Fighting in West Afghanistan as Taliban Attempts to Capture City

15 May, 2018, 22:18 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Canadian soldiers patrol an area in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday

Militants attacked a provincial government building in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least ten people, officials said.

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.

The Taliban have frequently claimed they try to avoid civilian casualties, but human rights organizations have counted thousands of civilian deaths caused by insurgent violence in recent years - many the result of Taliban attacks in populated urban areas.

Other residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of possible Taliban retribution, said Taliban militants began their operation at around 2130 GMT on Monday (2am) attacking the city from several directions.

At the same time, Taliban fighters have stepped up the pressure on government forces across the country, from Baghlan province in the north, where they seized a district center last week, to Farah in the southwest or Ghazni, south of Kabul.

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.

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

"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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At least some militants have been hiding in residential houses, making it hard for Afghan forces to use heavy weapons, Farah governor Abdul Basir Salangi told Ariana News, adding: "But still we are taking back positions one by one".

Another resident told TOLOnews that people were running from the city and the situation is "very bad".

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

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

Clashes have been ongoing for the past few months in different parts of Farah province.

In 2017, insurgents tried to overrun the capital three times, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Farah has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years.

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