Taliban militants besiege Farah provincial capital in Afghsanistan

15 May, 2018, 22:20 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Canadian soldiers patrol an area in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday

U.S. and Afghan aircraft on Tuesday bombed Taliban positions in the western city of Farah after the insurgents launched a major attempt to capture the provincial capital, with fearful residents seeking shelter from explosions and gunfire.

Taliban militants stormed the city of Farah, the capital of Farah Province on the border with Iran on Tuesday morning, Afghan media initially reported. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said that a counter-offensive operation was ongoing and the security forces were trying to bring the situation under control.

Action grouping "Taliban" in the city of Farah in Western Afghanistan was attacked.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility.

During this time, Kohistan district in Badakhshan province, Belchiragh district in Faryab province and Tala Wa Barfak district in Baghlan province have fallen to the Taliban.

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

Clashes in Farah come amid the Taliban's annual spring offensive, as they vow to target the "American invaders".

Residents in Farah have long warned that the city was vulnerable.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement that "serious measures" had been taken to defend Farah after the militants launched their offensive from the city's north side.

"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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Inamullah Miakhial, a Nangarhar hospital spokesman, also confirmed the dead toll and said that more than 40 wounded people are undergoing treatment at the hospital. Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents.

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 is a poppy-growing province in a hard to reach part of Afghanistan which a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline will traverse.

Two members of the Afghan forces were killed and four were injured, said Radmanish.

The attack on Farah is the first siege of a provincial capital this year.

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