Government Forces, Taliban Battling In Farah City In Western Afghanistan

Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

Heavy Fighting Breaks Out In Western Afghan City, Residents Say Situation “Very Bad”

"The Taliban are moving very fast, if the government does not take serious and speedy action, the province is going to collapse to Taliban", said Hamidullah, a resident of the city reached by telephone.

"We are stuck at our homes, we can not go out, and everyone is in great fear", he said.

Footage released on social media shows that a number of security forces' vehicles have been torched and that the Taliban have entered a building used by the security forces.

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.

Special police forces from Kandahar and commandos from Herat had also been deployed in Farah, Afghan officials said.

He said the attack happened late Monday night in Puli Alim the capital of the province.

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Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for Taliban said large scale attacks will continue in Farah and he warned civilians to remain inside their houses.

"The sounds of explosions and gunfire have filled the city", a resident said.

A local administrator said the attack by Taliban insurgents was an example of intelligence failure.

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

The Taliban have frequently claimed they try to avoid civilian casualties, but human rights organizations have counted thousands of civilian deaths caused by insurgent violence in recent years - many the result of Taliban attacks in populated urban areas.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not commented regarding the report so far.

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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.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and IS since the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat role in the country in 2014, shifting to a support and counterterrorism mission.

Two members of the Afghan forces were killed and four were injured, said Radmanish.

According to the TOLO news broadcaster, the Taliban started clashing with government troops at about 2 a.m. local time (21:30 GMT the previous day) on Tuesday in several districts and close to the National Directorate of Security department.

The province has been the scene of heavy clashes between Taliban and security forces over the past few months.

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