Afghanistan: government forces push back Taliban from western city of Farah

KABUL (TCA) — Afghan government forces have pushed back the Taliban from Farah city, the capital of the western Farah Province, close to the Iranian border, RFE/RL reports.

More than 300 Taliban fighters have been killed in the battle for Farah, provincial Governor Abdul Basir Salangi said on May 16.

He said 25 government troops also died.

The attack, the first major assault targeting a provincial capital since the Taliban announced its annual spring offensive, began early on May 15 when several security checkpoints were overrun after midnight, with the militants capturing one urban district and parts of another.

Special police forces from Kandahar and commandos from Herat were also deployed in Farah, Afghan officials said, as heavy fighting continued through May 15.

Afghan and NATO warplanes also took part in the battle.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Farah Province has been a key battleground for the Taliban for months. It borders Helmand Province, where the militants control several districts.

Violence has spiked in Afghanistan since the Taliban announced the start of their annual spring offensive last month.

But the commander of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said on May 11 that the Taliban “cannot win militarily.”

“The message I would send to the Taliban is that they cannot win militarily. The international coalition, led by the United States, is focused on providing the military pressure, in conjunction with social pressure and diplomatic pressure that will force them to come to the table,” Votel said during a visit to Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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