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Taliban storms major city in western Afghanistan

Taliban storms major city in western Afghanistan

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

The Taliban has launched a major offensive to capture a city in western Afghanistan, with heavy fighting breaking out in the area, officials say.

Afghan security forces keep watch during blasts and gunbattle at the site in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan May 13, 2018.

"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.

During this time, Kohistan district in Badakhshan province, Belchiragh district in Faryab province and Tala Wa Barfak district in Baghlan province have fallen to the Taliban.

But the defence ministry said the army had repulsed the attack and that "security forces are now chasing the enemy". They have also been posting images on social media they claim shows them inside the city.

The Taliban issued a statement warning residents to remain inside their homes and called on people to "stay calm".

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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. Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents. Despite the pressure of greatly stepped-up US and Afghan airstrikes, the Taliban have shown little interest in the Afghan government's offer of a comprehensive peace agreement.

As such, Tuesday's offensive "should not have taken government forces off guard", said military analyst and retired general Atiqullah Amarkhail.

Farah Province has been a key battleground for the Taliban for months.

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

The attack on Farah is the first siege of a provincial capital this year. Officials have warned of a deteriorating security situation as insurgents have entered the capital several times. The insurgents have not overrun any other city, a fact that USA military officials often point to as a sign of fatal weakness.

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

Earlier in May, Taliban fighters attacked Afghan bases in the province, killing more than 40 police officers and servicemen.


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