Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Dozens Killed, Wounded as Taliban Closes in on City in Western Afghan

Dozens Killed, Wounded as Taliban Closes in on City in Western Afghan

Afghan security forces battled for hours against a group of attackers who stormed a government building in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday after a coordinated assault that killed at least 15 people and wounded 42, local officials said.

The Taliban overran several security checkpoints in the city near Afghanistan's border with Iran.

But the defence ministry said the army had repulsed the attack and that "security forces are now chasing the enemy".

Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, a lawmaker from Farah province, said strategic security checkpoints around the city were overrun by Taliban and the insurgents were near police headquarters and the governor's offices.

A spokesman for the Taliban said in an online message that the insurgents had taken most of the provincial capital. The fighters launched the attacks from four directions on the city, which has over 50,000 residents.

"One Taliban militant has been killed and two others wounded during a separate clash erupted in Suzma Qala district of northern Sar Pul province" province.

"The Afghan National Defense and Security forces supported by US forces in Afghanistan air power are on the offensive against the Taliban", he added.

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

The residents feared that the Taliban radical movement would gain control of the city if the government did not send more troops soon, the media outlet said.

Inside the city residents reported clashes were continuing. "Gun battles, air strikes and explosions are taking place around the city", he told Xinhua earlier by phone.

"The situation is not concerning and with the arrival of commando forces they (Taliban) will be defeated Inshallah", Salangi said. Another provincial council member, Dadullah Qani, confirmed Hissaini's comments, the sound of gunfire and explosions audible as he spoke to an AFP reporter by telephone.

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

Clashes have been ongoing for the past few months in different parts of Farah province. There are plans for a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline to traverse it, a project with which the Taliban have pledged to cooperate. During 2017, they failed three times to seize the city.

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