United States and Afghanistan launch air strikes as Taliban attack western city

Officials Taliban fighters attack western Afghan city

Officials Taliban fighters attack western Afghan city

Taliban fighters with heavy weapons and night-vision equipment fought their way close to the centre of the western city of Farah on Tuesday, as Afghan forces with USA air support battled to force them back, officials and residents said.

Radmanish said the governor's office, the police headquarters, the National Directorate for Security, the university and the airport remain under government control and that Afghan officials would quickly expel the Taliban from Farah.

"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", he said.

In recent months, Farah province has been the site of many battles between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents.

Farah Province has been a key battleground for the Taliban for months.

Taliban fighters stand guard as senior leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, not pictured, delivers a speech to his fighters, in Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.

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

The latest reports say the terrorist group is still two-miles away from the city center. and the battle is still underway. He said Afghan forces established additional checkpoints to provide security.

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There were no detailed casualty assessments but a Resolute Support spokesman said dozens of Taliban fighters had been killed and there had also been an unspecified number of casualties on the government side.

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".

Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, a lawmaker from Farah, said residents were trying to get their lives back to normal.

Another provincial council member, Dadullah Qani, confirmed Hissaini's comments, the sound of gunfire and explosions audible as he spoke to an AFP reporter by telephone. "This area is in government control, and the claims in this regard are untrue", he said.

The Taliban are stepping up their spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture from the government. In 2017, insurgents tried three times to overrun the capital, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

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

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 USA estimates.

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

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