Taliban take district center in western Afghan province

Taliban take district center in western Afghan province

The fighting in Farah underlines the continuing strength of the Taliban movement, which controls or contests almost half of Afghanistan, and has so far rejected peace overtures from President Ashraf Ghani.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Afghan forces backed by air strikes battled on Monday to recapture a district center in the western province of Farah, after Taliban militants seized the town in an overnight attack that killed several policeman, regional officials said.

The fighting in Farah underlines the continuing strength of the Taliban movement, which controls or contests almost half of Afghanistan, and has so far rejected peace overtures from President Ashraf Ghani.

Nasrat Rahimi, a deputy spokesman of the interior ministry, said reinforcements had arrived in Anar Dara town and surrounded a group of Taliban militants. Air strikes had killed 56 insurgent militants, he said.

Eight police, including the local police commander had been killed and several wounded, he added.

The Taliban released pictures that appeared to show militants in the town and a spokesman for the group, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said 15 policemen had been killed and several military vehicles seized, along with a large quantity of ammunition.

The fighting in Anar Dara came days after local officials said the Taliban had inflicted heavy losses on Afghan special forces in another district of Farah, an isolated region where the government has long struggled to control.

In January, the governor of Farah resigned, blaming political interference and corruption. Residents of Farah city have complained bitterly about security in the province, where some police units are alleged to collude with Taliban militants, selling them weapons and ammunition.

Although they have failed to take any major provincial cities, the insurgents have several times seized district centers, even if they have often been driven off soon after by government reinforcements.



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