wnol.info July 20 2018

Taliban attacks Farah city in west Afghanistan, kills dozens

July 20 2018, 08:15 | Irvin Gilbert

Heavy Fighting Breaks Out In Western Afghan City, Residents Say Situation “Very Bad”

Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

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 USA efforts to build an effective, local force.

Chairman of the provincial Council Fared, Bakhtawar said that terrorists attacked several checkpoints, a result of the attack killed at least 30 security personnel, however, the number of victims will probably increase.

Taliban militants, who ruled the country before being ousted in late 2001, have intensified armed attacks against security forces since April 25 during their annual rebel offensive.

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.

A spokesman for the Taliban said in an online message that the insurgents had taken most of the provincial capital.

Farah shares borders with restive Helmand province, and according to local media, the militants arrived from Helmand where an intensive security operation is ongoing.

"The Afghan National Defense and Security forces supported by US forces in Afghanistan air power are on the offensive against the Taliban", he added.

American detainees freed by North Korea thankful to come home
The city-state of 5.5 million people boasts security partnerships with the US , a North Korean embassy and strong ties with China. Three Americans held in North Korean labor camps were free and back on USA soil Wednesday afternoon, the State Department said.

The targeting of Farah, coinciding with gains by the Taliban since the launch of a spring offensive less than three weeks ago, forced Afganistan's President, Ashraf Ghani, to call an urgent security meeting with senior defense officials on Tuesday.

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

But the commander of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said on May 11 that the Taliban "cannot win militarily".

Inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing. 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 Taliban was asking the city's residents to stay in their homes and promising they wouldn't be harmed. Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents.

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

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

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