NIMA ROOZ: Taliban Attacks Farah City

Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

Militants attacked a provincial government building in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least ten people, officials said.

NATO's Resolute Support said in a statement that the city was under government control and that US warplanes, including A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack planes deployed to Kandahar Air Field in January, were supporting security forces on the ground.

Unconfirmed reports said the Taliban had seized Farah's central prison and freed several hundred inmates, including dozens of militants.

Residents said Taliban forces began their attack at around 2.00 a.m. (2130 GMT) from several directions. Farah borders Helmand province, where the Taliban control several districts.

"The militants attacked the city from different outer neighborhoods at early hours of the day".

"Security checkpoints around the city have collapsed into the hands of the Taliban, causing high casualties among security forces", Bakhtawer said.

Afghan aircraft bombed Taliban positions as residents sought shelter from the explosions and gunfire.

Bakhtawer said casualties were high among security forces, but couldn't provide a precise number.

"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 Taliban urged the Afghan nation to boycott the elections and said that the country was "occupied" by foreign forces.

General Amarkhail added that "even ordinary citizens were aware of the Taliban gradually taking over more areas and becoming a formidable force in the province".

He said the Taliban targeted Haidr Qali, Sayedabad and Yazdi areas of the provincial capital with suicide bombing, rockets and vehicle bombing.

The Taliban assault was the biggest by the group since the militant regime was ousted from power in 2001.

The areas under the Taliban control would be recaptured as soon as possible, he said.

Despite security concerns, the Taliban have pledged to cooperate with the project. Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the two groups since the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation concluded their combat mission in 2014, switching to a counterterrorism and support role.

"We thank Farah people for their strong support, we will defend Farah with the support of people and God and eliminate the enemy", he said.

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