Taliban in Afghanistan enter Farah city bordering Iran

Leroy Wright
May 16, 2018

Earlier, on 11 may, Taliban militants attacked a police base in the Western Afghan province of Farah (district Balbulus), killing more than 30 policemen. One American soldier was also killed and another wounded during a combat operation in eastern Afghanistan, US Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement.

Residents of Farah, capital of the province of the same name, have warned for months the city was vulnerable and the attack appeared to threaten a repeat of the Taliban's capture of the northern city of Kunduz, which fell briefly in 2015.

"The independent media is a cornerstone of democracy", Jim Mattis said, adding that the United States was "committed to defeating" the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack.

Salangi said residents had begun clearing the city, including removing the bodies of nearly 40 Taliban fighters.

A lucrative drug route crosses the embattled province, connecting largely Taliban-held Helmand province to the south with Iran in the west.

It added Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) had already stated, the Afghan security forces brought their full capabilities, consisting of Army, Police, Commandos and Air Force, to bear on the situation.

The assault began around midnight, with the militants capturing one urban district and parts of another, said local provincial council member Jamila Amini. "The situation is very bad", Satar Hissaini, a tribal elder in Farah, told Agence France-Presse. Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents.

The Afghan governor of Farah province, Basir Salangi, fled the city of 50,000 people when the attack began at about 2 a.m., but he remains in the province, according to The New York Times.

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Farah is a vast and sparsely populated province with tens of thousands of dollars generated under custom duty.

Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warplanes also took part in the battle.

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

But it has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years.

Although the insurgents have been unable to take and hold any provincial center, they are active across Afghanistan and the government has firm control over no more than 56 percent of the country, according to USA estimates.

Poor coordination among security forces and the Taliban's access to more sophisticated weapons have been cited as major factors in the militants' advance.

Through a spokesman, the Taliban told the city's residents earlier in the day to stay in their homes, promising they wouldn't be harmed and that only military facilities were being targeted.

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