Taliban Clashing With Afghan Forces in Western Farah Province

Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

The Taliban continues its insurgency in Afghanistan with an assault on Farah City.

Taliban fighters overran parts of western Farah city early Tuesday but were reportedly repelled by late evening as Afghan ground troops and reinforcements, backed by USA and Afghan airstrikes, fought for hours to prevent the insurgents from capturing a second city since the conflict began in 2002.

"Heavy fighting is going on and Taleban are in the city, but the police headquarters and NDS (the Afghan intelligence agency) have not fallen to them", he said. It followed months of repeated attacks that have inflicted heavy casualties on government forces on the outskirts of Farah.

But the Defence Ministry said the army had repulsed the attack, and "the security forces are now chasing the enemy".

Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, a lawmaker form Farah province, also confirmed the Taliban attacks.

The attack on Farah was the first on a provincial capital this year.

The Trump administration's strategy of renewed aggression here, meant to bolster the country's security, has led to a dramatic hike in the number of airstrikes, many aimed at crippling the Taliban's ability to profit from the drug trade.

NATO's Resolute Support mission in Kabul tweeted that the Afghan army, supported by U.S. airpower including A-10 Thunderbolts, was "on the offensive" and the city "remains under govt. control".

The Taliban launched a coordinated assault on Farah shortly after midnight, and quickly overran checkpoints at the city's edge.

Taliban militants, who ruled the country before being ousted in late 2001, renewed armed insurgency.

Government forces including 100 commandos have arrived and are clashing with the insurgents, a local provincial council member told AFP, as residents said the situation was "very bad".

Taliban also claimed capturing many areas of Farah including the third police district and the NDS headquarter.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said in a statement on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) that A-10 close support fighter jets were circling Farah, which it said remains under government control. The insurgents captured it in 2015 and again in 2016, but in both cases it was retaken after only a few days amid heavy fighting and airstrikes.

Abdullah said in parts of the country Afghan soldiers have been surrounded by Taliban for months, but in recent days the National Security Council and the Supreme Commander meetings were not held to address soldiers' problems and to send them support.