Taliban Attack Tests Afghan Forces Near Iran Border

15 May, 2018, 22:17 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

"(The Taliban) will fail", vowed interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish, who said both Afghan and foreign air forces were taking part in the fighting.

KABUL-Fighting raged Tuesday between Taliban militants and Afghan government forces for control of a provincial capital near the Iranian border, local officials said, in a confrontation shaping up as a stern test of US efforts to build an effective, local force.

"I can say that it is street-to-street battle", a city official, Mohammed Sarwar Usmani, told Arab News.

"NDS forces in their headquarters are engaged in heavy clashes with the Taliban". He said at least six security forces were killed and 12 others, including the deputy provincial police chief, were wounded in the fighting. They have been posting images on social media which they claim shows them inside the city.

Most have been in capital city Kabul, but in January gunmen attacked an office of aid group Save the Children in Jalalabad, killing at least five people and wounding 25.

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


Noorul Haq, spokesman for the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Farah, said up to 1,000 security personnel are engaged in gunfight with the militants. Despite the pressure of greatly stepped-up USA and Afghan airstrikes, the Taliban have shown little interest in the Afghan government's offer of a comprehensive peace agreement.

As to a report released May 1 by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), about 39% of the country's territory with 65% of the country's population is controlled by the government, while the number of the police and military forces is declining.

Clashes have been ongoing for the past few months in different parts of Farah province.

Despite security concerns, the Taliban have pledged to cooperate with the project. In 2017 insurgents tried three times to overrun the capital, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Farah, which borders Iran, has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years. The insurgents have not overrun any other city, a fact that USA military officials often point to as a sign of fatal weakness.

"The Taliban are moving very fast, if the government does not take serious and speedy action, the province is going to collapse to Taliban", one resident warned Reuters.

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