Dozens Killed, Wounded as Taliban Closes in on City in Western Afghan

Dozens Killed, Wounded as Taliban Closes in on City in Western Afghan

About 300 insurgents have been killed in the day-long attack by nearly 2,000 Taliban insurgents in western Farah province's capital city, provincial governor Abdul Basir Salangi said.

Social media images showed bodies of government troops on the streets in one area, while video images released by the government showed helicopters firing on a hill outside the city.

Fared Bakhtawer, head of the provincial council, said several security checkpoints in the city of Farah were overrun by Taliban fighters and that an intense gun battle was ongoing.

Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the defence ministry in Kabul said they have ordered security forces from neighbouring provinces to travel to Farah to protect civilians and government buildings.

"There is fighting still going on in the city of Farah", Lt. Col. Martin L. O'Donnell, a spokesman for Resolute Support, told Business Insider over the phone, which "despite rumors to the contrary, remains on the outskirts of the city, three kilometers to the north and west".

Local residents of the province reportedly said that Taliban militants still remained in a number of districts and posed a threat to the city.

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

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

The Taliban stormed the city in the early hours of Tuesday morning and were pushed back early Wednesday, said Salangi.




Afghan officials confirmed that a district police chief in Farah died of his wounds on Tuesday, but they denied claims that the deputy provincial police chief had also died, saying he was critically wounded.

"NDS forces in their headquarters are engaged in heavy clashes with the Taliban".

The assault began around midnight, with the militants capturing one urban district and parts of another, said local provincial council member Jamila Amini.

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

Farah is a poppy-growing province in an isolated region of Afghanistan.

The assault comes as the Taliban are stepping up their spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture by the Afghan government. Officials have warned of a deteriorating security situation as insurgents have entered the capital several times.

Farah is home to about 50,000 people and would be the second city to fall to the Taliban since the city of Kunduz fell twice in 2015 and 2016.

Although the insurgents have been unable to take and hold any provincial center, they are active across Afghanistan and the government has firm control over no more than 56 percent of the country, according to USA estimates.

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