US, Afghanistan Launch Air Strikes As Taliban Attack Western City

Canadian soldiers patrol an area in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday

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

Since the launch of the Taliban's spring offensive last month, the group has carried out several attacks in the capital, Kabul, and battled security forces in several provinces, taking additional districts in recent weeks.

Public health officials said that at least 15 people, including a child, had been killed and 42 wounded.

Clashes between militants and security forces forced Farah residents to close shops and businesses.

Earlier a security forces source said that the Taliban had taken control of a number of check posts in the city and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and police headquarters.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and IS since the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat role in the country in 2014, shifting to a support and counterterrorism mission.

Another provincial council member, Dadullah Qani, confirmed Hissaini's comments.

The noise has "filled the city", said one resident who gave his name as Bilal, adding that he could see smoke rising from the direction of a building housing the NDS.

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The insurgents captured one district in Farah and parts of another, she added.

Most people are staying indoors. They have also been posting images on social media they claim shows them inside the city. Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents.

The Taliban are stepping up their spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture from the government.

Farah Province has been a key battleground for the Taliban for months.

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

The attack on Farah is the first siege of a provincial capital this year. In 2017 insurgents tried three times to overrun the capital, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

"Government reinforcements have arrived including around 100 commando forces". The insurgents have not overrun any other city, a fact that US military officials often point to as a sign of fatal weakness.

"The Taliban are moving very fast, if the government does not take serious and speedy action, the province is going to collapse to Taliban", one resident warned Reuters.

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