Alwaght- The Taliban militant group has launched a major offensive to capture the capital of Farah province in western Afghanistan early Tuesday, killing and wounding “dozens” of security forces.
Taliban militants stormed the city of Farah, the capital of Farah Province near the border with Iran at about 2am Tuesday, Tolo news reported.
The Afghan news agency cited Dadullah Qane , member of the provincial council, as saying that “clashes are ongoing in several parts of the city and close to National Directorate of Security (NDS) department.”
Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents if the government does not send more troops to the province
“The Taliban are moving very fast, if the government does not take serious and speedy action, the province is going to collapse to Taliban,” local resident Hamidullah told Tolo News.
Afghan warplanes have reportedly bombed Taliban positions after insurgents attacked Farah city.
Special police forces from Kandahar and commandos from Herat had also been deployed in Farah, Afghan officials said.
Clashes have been ongoing for the past few months in different parts of Farah province. Dozens of Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents have been killed and injured.
On Monday, officials said in 19 days the Taliban has carried out over 2,700 attacks around the country.
In the last week Afghan security forces suffered heavy losses in clashes against insurgents across the country, but on Sunday the Afghan interior ministry said that security forces have retreated from some areas that have high threat levels so as to avoid additional fatalities.
According to security departments, in the last 19 days, since the start of the Taliban’s Spring Offensive, the group has carried out over 2,700 attacks which resulted in high fatality rates to both security forces and Taliban militants.
During this time, Kohistan district in Badakhshan province, Belchiragh district in Faryab province and Tala Wa Barfak district in Baghlan province have fallen to the Taliban. Tala Wa Barfak are still under the control of the group while the other two have been retaken from the group.
In the last week, clashes between security forces and militants in Farah, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghor and Badakhshan province ended in high casualty rates.
“In the last week we retook a few districts from the Taliban and this would not happen without suffering losses. We had casualties in Farah, Baghlan and Ghor,” defense ministry’s deputy spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said.
On Monday, CEO of the National Unity Government (NUG) Abdullah Abdullah said soldiers have been under siege for months, but relevant security officials are busy with other issues.
Abdullah sharply criticized government for not addressing security problems adding that a large number of soldiers have lost their lives in the last few days across the country.
Abdullah, who had been speaking at the Council of Ministers Meeting, said in recent days hundreds of soldiers have been killed or wounded in the war against militants. He said while this was happening, government, especially security departments, was busy with other affairs and has not been paying attention to security issues.
Abdullah said in parts of the country Afghan soldiers have been surrounded by Taliban for months, but in recent days the National Security Council and the Supreme Commander meetings were not held to address soldiers’ problems and to send them support.
The Presidential Palace meanwhile said they have held many meetings regarding the security situation and even President Ashraf Ghani has set election security as one of his priorities.
“(The president) as the Supreme Commander has allocated a big amount of his time to security issues. In the last week, at least two or three meetings were held that includes the Supreme Commander and National Security Council meetings,” the president’s spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri said.
Farah, Ghor, Baghlan, Nangarhar and Zabul are among 10 provinces that have witnessed ongoing heavy clashes between security forces and Taliban in recent days and the continuation of the clashes have raised concerns among the people, MPs and politicians.