Taliban attacks Farah city in west Afghanistan, kills dozens

Heavy clashes in W. Afghanistan city as major Taliban offensive kicks off

Earlier, the Taliban insurgents have attacked the capital of western Farah province, overrunning the 3rd police district. One American soldier was also killed and another wounded during a combat operation in eastern Afghanistan, US Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement.

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

According to reports, at least 2000 Taliban militants attacked Farah province on Tuesday morning, in order to claim it.

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.

"Farah city remains under government control, and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, supported by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan airpower, are on the offensive against the Taliban", spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell said.

On Tuesday, may 15, the militant groups of Taliban in the city of Farah in Western Afghanistan has committed another offense.

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Clashes between militants and security forces forced Farah residents to close shops and businesses.

"Heavy fighting is going on and Taliban are in the city but the police headquarters and NDS (the Afghan intelligence agency) have not fallen to them", he said.

"The Afghan security forces are bringing their full capabilities, consisting of Army, Police, Commandos and Air Force, to bear on the situation", it said, adding that USA forces "stand firm beside our Afghan partners and will continue to reinforce this Afghan-led offensive".

The Presidential Palace meanwhile said they have held many meetings regarding the security situation and even President Ashraf Ghani has set election security as one of his priorities.

Samihullah Samim, a lawmaker from Farah, said parts of the city are under Taliban control, with heavy fighting underway just 300 metres from the governor's residence.

There were no detailed casualty assessments but a Resolute Support spokesman said dozens of Taliban fighters had been killed and there had also been an unspecified number of casualties on the government side. Gunfire and explosions could be heard as he spoke to an AFP reporter by telephone.

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

The insurgents released a statement warning residents to stay inside their homes and "stay calm". 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.

The attack on Farah is the first siege of a provincial capital this year.

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.

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

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