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Afghanistan: Taliban, Army clashes in Farah kill over 300

16 May, 2018, 15:08 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Afghan capital Kabul hit by explosion

Taliban insurgents launched attacks from multiple directions on the capital of Farah province in western Afghanistan near the border with Iran early Tuesday, killing and wounding "dozens" of security forces, a local official said.

Another resident said: "The government forces have conducted a number of operations in different parts of the city in the past few days, but this hasn't had any results".

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

The clashes started at about 2am early Tuesday after Taliban insurgents started clashes in the city, a member of the provincial council Dadullah Qane said, adding that "clashes are ongoing in several parts of the city and close to National Directorate of Security (NDS) department".

The US carried out drone strikes overnight and the Afghan army is still clearing the city, according to Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials. The group has rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's offer to participate in parliamentary and local elections, while urging the Afghan nation to boycott the elections and saying that the country is "occupied" by foreign forces.

There were no immediate casualty assessments but residents said there were wounded and dead on both sides as well as among the civilian population.

Separately, one local policeman was killed and another wounded after a bomb exploded in eastern Logar province, said Ahmad Khalid Safi, a spokesman for the provincial governor. "This is the normal stuff by people who can not win at the ballot box, so they turn to bombs", Mattis said when asked about a day of bloodshed in Afghanistan that left dozens dead, including many children and journalists.

"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.

In the last week, clashes between security forces and militants in Farah, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghor and Badakhshan province ended in high casualty rates. "The Taliban are well equipped with heavy arms and night vision equipment".

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.

There was no immediate confirmation from NATO's mission in Kabul.

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 United States estimates.

"Government reinforcements have arrived including around 100 commando forces".

Although US commanders have been relatively upbeat about improvements in the performance of Afghan forces, the Taliban appear to have made significant gains this year.

As such, Tuesday's offensive "should not have taken government forces off guard", said military analyst and retired general Atiqullah Amarkhail.

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