Afghanistan: Taliban, Army clashes in Farah kill over 300

Afghanistan: Taliban, Army clashes in Farah kill over 300

A provincial council member in Farah, Dadullah Qani, said that the insurgents left the city after Afghan security forces began searching for them house by house, and that they had left behind booby-trapped bombs.

Separately, in eastern Ghazni province, at least 14 policemen were killed, including a district deputy police chief, after Taliban fighters launched attacks on their checkpoints, said Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor.

The US military said in a statement that it had A-10 warplanes over the city, "which remains under government control".

Other residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of possible Taliban retribution, said Taliban militants began their operation at around 2130 GMT on Monday (2am) attacking the city from several directions.

A resurgent Taliban, largely dependent on narcotics revenues, has expanded its territorial control over parts of Afghanistan since the withdrawal of most global combat forces at the end of 2014.

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

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

The battle was underway in several areas of the city, Abdul Shakoor, a resident of the Bagh-e-Pul area, told Stars and Stripes on Tuesday morning.

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

The Presidential Palace meanwhile said they have held many meetings regarding the security situation and even President Ashraf Ghani has set election security as one of his priorities.

More news: Exit polls are entertainment, enjoy weekend: Siddaramaiah

Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, has said that their fighters started the attacks on the capital city about 2 a.m. and had captured an intelligence office, a police station and other checkpoints.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said in a statement Tuesday that A-10 close support fighter jets were circling Farah, which it said was under government control.

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

The Taliban issued a statement warning residents to remain inside their homes and called on people to "stay calm".

Farah is a poppy-growing province in a hard to reach part of Afghanistan.

The Taliban are stepping up their spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture from the government.

There are plans for a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline to traverse it, a project with which the Taliban have pledged to cooperate.

Farah has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years. In 2017, insurgents tried three times to overrun the capital, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

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

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

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