KABUL: The Taliban launched attacks from multiple directions on a city in western Afghanistan early Tuesday, killing and wounding at least six security forces, officials said.
Fared Bakhtawer, head of the Farah provincial council, said the insurgents overran several security checkpoints in the provincial capital of the same name and that heavy fighting was underway. He said casualties were high among security forces, but couldn’t provide a precise number.
“Security checkpoints around the city have collapsed into the hands of the Taliban, causing high casualties among security forces,” he said.
Afghan aircraft bombed Taliban positions in the western city of Farah after the insurgents launched a major attempt to capture the provincial capital, with fearful residents seeking shelter from explosions and gunfire.
The attack the first major assault targeting a city since the Taliban launched their annual spring offensive – began around midnight, with the militants capturing one urban district and parts of another, said local provincial council member Jamila Amini.
“Heavy fighting continues inside the city and aircraft have just started bombarding Taliban positions,” she told AFP Tuesday from inside Farah.
“(The Taliban) will fail,” vowed interior ministry spokesperson Najib Danish, who said both Afghan and foreign air forces were taking part in the fighting.
Defence ministry spokesperson Mohammad Radmnish said at least 10 insurgents and two Afghan security force members had been killed so far.
“The situation is under control and will change by the end of the day,” he said.
But inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing. “The situation is very bad,” Satar Hissaini, a tribal elder in Farah, told AFP.
“Heavy fighting is going on and Taliban are in the city but the police headquarters and NDS (the Afghan intelligence agency) have not fallen to them,” he said.