Published: Tue, May 15, 2018

MoD confirms clashes continue in the outskirts of Farah city

MoD confirms clashes continue in the outskirts of Farah city

Afghan troops and police nationwide have struggled to hold back the resurgent Taliban since the withdrawal of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat forces at the end of 2014.

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

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said that a counter-offensive operation was ongoing and the security forces were trying to bring the situation under control.

In late April, the Taliban announced its annual "spring offensive" and has conducted over 2,700 attacks around the country since then.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed tweeted that Farah has been attacked from multiple directions early this morning, and so far all check points around the city, the NDS headquarters, a police station and multiple other check points inside the city have been overrun.

But inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing.

Another resident told TOLOnews that people were running from the city and the situation is "very bad". The Taliban have seized control of districts across the country, and the two groups have carried out attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, in recent months that killed scores of people. "An intense battle is going on in the city", he said without providing additional details.

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.

The insurgents released a statement warning residents to stay inside their homes and "stay calm".

A Farah government official and several residents said security forces were engaged in police districts two and three, around four kilometres from the city centre.

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.

A resurgent Taliban, largely dependent on narcotics revenues, has expanded its sway in the country since the withdrawal of most global combat forces at the end of 2014.

The Trump administration's strategy of renewed aggression here, meant to bolster the country's security, has led to a dramatic hike in the number of airstrikes, many aimed at crippling the Taliban's ability to profit from the drug trade.

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