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Fierce battle as Taliban militants besiege provincial capital

Fierce battle as Taliban militants besiege provincial capital

"There is no fear of losing Farah city to the militants", he said, adding that Special Operations Forces and army commandos together with army reinforcement have arrived in Farah city.

Fared Bakhtawer, head of the Farah provincial council, says several security checkpoints were overrun by Taliban fighters on Tuesday morning and that an intense gunbattle was ongoing in the city.

"There is no danger of Farah city collapsing into the hands of Taliban", he added.

"Fresh commando forces are now deployed to Police HQ, NDS and Prison in #Farah".

At least five militants have been killed and three others have been wounded during another clash that took place in Chahar Bolak district of northern Balkh province.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Taliban are active in the province and has repeatedly claimed earlier attacks in the province.

Satar Hissaini, a tribal elder in Farah, told AFP that although the situation is "very bad", the city was being defended.

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Afghan government officials at Tuesday's news conference said two Afghan security personnel were killed and four others wounded, while, 10 Taliban were killed and the same number of them wounded.

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

An explosion went off in a residential neighbourhood of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Monday, setting nerves on edge in a city hit by a wave of violence in recent months, but only one person was injured, officials said.

The assault comes as the Taliban are stepping up their spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture by the Afghan government.

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

Despite security concerns, the Taliban have pledged to cooperate with the project.


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