Taliban Attack Tests Afghan Forces Near Iran Border

Sergio Conner
May 16, 2018

He said the Taliban targeted Haidr Qali, Sayedabad and Yazdi areas of the provincial capital with suicide bombing, rockets and auto bombing.

"Heavy fighting continues inside the city and aircraft have just started bombarding Taliban positions", local provincial council member Jamila Amini told AFP.

Afghan special operations forces, army and police, supported by US airpower, had started clearance operations on the city's outskirts, USA and Afghan officials said.

Oryakhel said Afghan forces equipped with advanced weaponry were fighting against the militants and were not in need of reinforcement.

Attackers overran several security checkpoints in the city and heavy fighting was under way on Tuesday, provincial official Fared Bakhtawer 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".

Afghan forces and Nato's Resolute Support mission said that the government remained in control, but the Taliban also appeared confident, posting a flurry of social media updates throughout the day that purported to show their fighters in the city. The fighters launched the attacks from four directions on the city, which has over 50,000 residents. "Both Afghan A-29s and Mi-17s have conducted multiple air strikes, and United States forces have conducted one drone strike".

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at least six security forces were killed and 12 others, including the deputy provincial police chief, were wounded in the fighting.

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"If the security forces can't take control of the whole city by the end of the day, then it will be very hard to take control of the city anytime soon", Samim said.

Inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing.

Mr Satar Hissaini, a tribal elder in Farah, told AFP: "The situation is very bad".

"An intense battle is going on in the city", he said without providing additional details.

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 a hard to reach part of Afghanistan through which a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline will traverse.

The targeting of Farah, coinciding with gains by the Taliban since the launch of a spring offensive less than three weeks ago, forced Afganistan's President, Ashraf Ghani, to call an urgent security meeting with senior defense officials on Tuesday.

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