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15 May 2018, 04:26 | Damon Campbell
Heavy Fighting Breaks Out In Western Afghan City, Residents Say Situation “Very Bad”
Taliban militants threatened the provincial capital of Farah in western Afghanistan on Tuesday, with fighting underway on the outskirts of the city where government forces were defending two police districts, officials and residents said.
Fared Bakhtawer, head of the provincial council, offered a different picture, however, saying that several security checkpoints in Farah were overrun by the Taliban. "Six security forces have been killed in clashes with the Taliban and a security police official was wounded in the clashes", he said.
Residents of Farah, capital of the province of the same name, have warned for months the city was vulnerable and the attack appeared to threaten a repeat of the Taliban's capture of the northern city of Kunduz, which fell briefly in 2015.
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.
"The Taliban are moving very fast, if the government does not take serious and speedy action, the province is going to collapse to Taliban", local resident Hamidullah said. The group said in April that this year's campaign, called 'Al Khandaq, ' is in response to US President Donald Trump's aggressive military strategy to force the militants into peace talks.
But inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing.
In the last week Afghan security forces suffered heavy losses in clashes against insurgents across the country, but on Sunday the Afghan interior ministry said that security forces have retreated from some areas that have high threat levels so as to avoid additional fatalities.
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"NDS forces in their headquarters are engaged in heavy clashes with the Taliban".
"There were eight terrorists who carried out a coordinated attack in Jalalabad city, killing ten people", Khogyani said.
"We had casualties in Farah, Baghlan and Ghor", defense ministry's deputy spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said.
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 which a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline will traverse.
The Taliban have pledged to cooperate with the project.
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