North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supports Afghan forces-led offensive in Farah

Virginia Carson
May 16, 2018

U.S. and Afghan aircraft 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.

But the defence ministry said the army had repulsed the attack and that "security forces are now chasing the enemy".

Security forces were sent to the city and deployed in various areas, the ministry said. He said fighters launched attacks from multiple directions, after which they overran several checkpoints in the city.

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".

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.

A Taleban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi issued a statement late on Tuesday afternoon on WhatsApp messaging groups claiming that the insurgents had taken "most parts of Farah city".

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Authorities said that the unnamed family returned home from Syria, where the ISIS continue to wreak havoc and terror. Security remained tight around police buildings Tuesday in Surabaya , Indonesia's second-largest city.

"There is no danger of Farah city collapsing into the hands of Taliban", he added.

Located along one of the country's most lucrative drug routes, between Helmand province in the south and Iran to the west, the province has been embattled for months.

The Taliban was asking the city's residents to stay in their homes and promising they wouldn't be harmed.

"The people are running from the city and the situation is very bad", said a resident of Farah.

Bakhtawer said casualties were high among security forces, but could not provide a precise number.

Salangi said more than 300 Taliban fighters were killed in the gunbattle.

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Indian media is using this statement as admission of Pakistan's involvement in the terrorist attacks. Pakistan has so far not completed trial in the 26/11 case.

Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, a lawmaker from Farah province, said strategic security checkpoints around the city were overrun by Taliban and the insurgents were near police headquarters and the governor's offices. Gunfire and explosions could be heard as he spoke to an AFP reporter by telephone.

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.

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

"US Air Force A-10s are over Farah city, which remains under government control". There are plans for a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline to traverse it.

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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Aside from the mounting military tensions between Iran and Israel, oil prices are rising on the uncertainty. In October a year ago , India sent its first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.

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