Fierce battle as Taliban militants besiege provincial capital
16 May, 2018, 15:09
Kabul, May 16 Security forces pushed back an attack by Taliban insurgents today and took control of Farah city in western Afghanistan, officials said.
Dozens of Taliban fighters have been killed, and Afghan forces have suffered an unknown number of casualties, O'Donnell said, adding that he was unsure of any civilian casualties.
He said residents had begun clearing the city, including removing the bodies of the Taliban attackers.
Gen Mohammad Radmanish, Defence Ministry spokesman, said Farah city was cleared of insurgents Wednesday and Afghan forces were chasing Taliban fighters outside of the city.
Afghan forces have struggled to fight the Taliban in recent years as the insurgents have seized several districts across the country.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) claims that the Talibanmilitants have suffered heavy casualties during the attack on Farah city.
Taliban fighters stand guard as senior leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, not pictured, delivers a speech to his fighters, in Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Clashes have been ongoing for the past few months in different parts of Farah province.
"I can say that it is street-to-street battle", a city official, Mohammed Sarwar Usmani, told Arab News.
"The Afghan security forces are bringing their full capabilities, consisting of Army, Police, Commandos and Air Force, to bear on the situation", it said, adding that US forces "stand firm beside our Afghan partners and will continue to reinforce this Afghan-led offensive".
Fighters are targeting journalists in Afghanistan because they are weakened and want more news coverage in order to undermine the country's electoral process ahead of an expected vote in October, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has said.
The assault began around midnight, with the militants capturing one urban district and parts of another, said local provincial council member Jamila Amini.
"NDS forces in their headquarters are engaged in heavy clashes with the Taliban".
Another provincial council member, Dadullah Qani, confirmed Hissaini's comments, the sound of gunfire and explosions audible as he spoke to an AFP reporter by telephone.
"US Air Force A-10s are over Farah city, which remains under government control".
The Talibanissued a statement warning residents to remain inside their homes and called on people to "stay calm".
Many radio and television channels in the province have stopped broadcasting, fearing for their employees' lives, according to media watchdog Nai.
Farah is a vast and sparsely populated province with tens of thousands of dollars generated under custom duty. Despite the pressure of greatly stepped-up US and Afghan airstrikes, the Taliban have shown little interest in the Afghan government's offer of a comprehensive peace agreement.
But it has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years.
In 2017, insurgents tried to overrun the capital three times, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.
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