Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Taliban attacks Farah city in west Afghanistan, kills dozens

Taliban attacks Farah city in west Afghanistan, kills dozens

The Taliban launched a coordinated attack on the Afghan capital of Farah province on Tuesday, forcing the USA to send in A-10 Warthogs in a show of force, according to numerous media reports and a spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

A doctor from the provincial hospital in Farah, who did not want to be identified, said so far two dead and 16 wounded members of the Afghan security forces, as well as five wounded civilians including women and children, had been taken to the hospital.

Salangi said at least 25 government troops were killed.

The Taliban launched a coordinated assault on Farah shortly after midnight, and quickly overran checkpoints at the city's edge.

"There is no fear of losing Farah city to the militants", he said, adding that Special Operations Forces and army commandos together with army reinforcement have arrived in Farah city.

Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban in recent years, as the insurgents have seized several districts across the country.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack.

It was the first Taliban assault on a provincial capital this year after it announced the start of its annual spring offensive last month and formally rejected Afghan government peace initiatives.

The attack began at about 2 a.m. in Farah city, near the Iranian border.

Clashes between militants and security forces forced Farah residents to close shops and businesses.

Bakhtawer said casualties were high among security forces, but couldn't provide a precise number.

"Heavy fighting is going on and Taliban are in the city but the police headquarters and NDS (the Afghan intelligence agency) have not fallen to them", he said. They have been posting images on social media which they claim shows them inside the city.

Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, a lawmaker from Farah, said residents were trying to get their lives back to normal.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was contradicting official government reports.

"Farah is in dire need of air support", Dadullah Qane, a provincial council member, said by telephone as the fighting went on in the morning. Despite the pressure of greatly stepped-up USA and Afghan airstrikes, the Taliban have shown little interest in the Afghan government's offer of a comprehensive peace agreement.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said in a statement on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) that A-10 close support fighter jets were circling Farah, which it said remains under government control.

It's also an important economic area with the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline planned for the region. Officials have warned of a deteriorating security situation as insurgents have entered the capital several times.

Kunduz, Afghanistan's fifth largest city and capital of the northern province of the same name, fell briefly to the Taliban in 2015.

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