Heavy fighting as Taliban attack western Afghan city: Residents

Canadian soldiers patrol an area in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday

Canadian soldiers patrol an area in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday

Afghan officials say dozens of security forces have been killed and wounded in Tuesday's attack.

Public health officials said that at least 15 people, including a child, had been killed and 42 wounded.

In the meantime, the residents of the city said that "if the government does not send more troops to the province, Farah city will fall into the hands of the Taliban".

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman said the Taliban has already claimed responsibility for the attacks. The fighters launched the attacks from four directions on the city, which has over 50,000 residents. Farah borders Helmand province, where the Taliban controls several districts.

Violence has escalated across Afghanistan since the announcement of the Taliban's annual spring offensive last month and there have been heightened security fears around preparations for elections in October.

Danish at a joint press conference with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Mohammad Radmanish said that security forces from southern Kandahar and western Herat provinces have been deployed to the province to "eliminate the threats". The Taliban had captured a police district on the city's edge, he said.

Another resident said: "The government forces have conducted a number of operations in different parts of the city in the past few days, but this hasn't had any results".

Another provincial council member, Dadullah Qani, confirmed Hissaini's comments.

"An intense battle is going on in the city", he said without providing additional details.

"The people are running from the city and the situation is very bad", said a resident of Farah.

According to Salangi the Taliban failed to capture the NDS directorate, Farah prison, police headquarters or "other key organizations and "soon they will be thwarted from the city".

The assault began around midnight, with the militants capturing one urban district and parts of another, said local provincial council member Jamila Amini. There are plans for a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline to traverse it, a project with which the Taliban have pledged to cooperate. In 2017 insurgents tried three times to overrun the capital, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

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

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