Taliban attacks Farah city in west Afghanistan, kills dozens

Taliban attacks Farah city in west Afghanistan, kills dozens

"We assure the people of Farah that all the operations implemented, air force, commandos and all other units stationed in the western part of the country are taking action", the Defense Ministry said.

The "clashes are ongoing in several parts of the city and close to National Directorate of Security (NDS) department", a member of the provincial council, Dadullah Qane, said, as cited by TOLOnews.

Bakhtawer says up to 30 security forces were killed or wounded in the attacks.

This comes as the Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the group announced its spring offensive but the Afghan forces have also stepped up efforts to counter the militants attacks.

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", one resident who gave his name as Bilal said, adding that he could see smoke rising from the direction of a building housing the NDS.

Local military experts believed the Taliban offensive followed their loss of control over the southern province of Helmand.

In the last week, clashes between security forces and militants in Farah, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghor and Badakhshan province ended in high casualty rates.

In January, NATO's Resolute Support Mission, tasked with building up the Afghan government's security forces, assessed that almost 15 percent of the country's 407 districts - more than 20 percent of the landmass - was under insurgent control or influence, according to a watchdog report released this month.

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

A resurgent Taliban, largely dependent on narcotics revenues, has expanded its territorial control over parts of Afghanistan since the withdrawal of most worldwide combat forces at the end of 2014. "The situation is very bad", Satar Hissaini, a tribal elder in Farah, told AFP.

Many radio and television channels in the province have stopped broadcasting, fearing for their employees' lives, according to media watchdog Nai.

It's also an important economic area with the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline planned for the region.

Despite security concerns, the Taliban have pledged to cooperate with the project.

Farah, which borders Iran, has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years.

In 2017 insurgents tried to overrun the capital three times, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

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