Afghan troops repel Taliban in savage street fighting

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Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, with government forces fighting the continuing Taliban insurgency, while other extremist groups, such as the Daesh* terrorist group, have also expanded their activities both in the country and neighboring states.

"Security checkpoints around the city have collapsed into the hands of the Taliban, causing high casualties among security forces", he said.

Fared Bakhtawer, head of the provincial council, offered a different picture, however, saying that several security checkpoints in Farah were overrun by the Taliban.

"We assure the people of Farah that all the operations implemented, air force, commandos and all other units stationed in the western part of the country are taking action", the Defense Ministry said.

Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warplanes also took part in the battle.

In the meantime, residents of Farah said that the Taliban have been pushed back from the city, but they are in Shir Koh, Pesht Koh districts and Regi area of the city and the Taliban still threaten the city.

"Heavy fighting continues inside the city and aircraft have just started bombarding Taliban positions", she told Agence France-Presse earlier on Tuesday from inside Farah.

Help. Farah is a remote and sparsely populated province between Iran to the West and Helmand province, considered the "heart" of the Taliban.

Satar Hissaini, a tribal elder in Farah, told AFP that although the situation is "very bad", the city was being defended.

A resident, who wished to go unnamed, said the rebels had captured the 3rd police district and stormed the intelligence department.

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"The Afghan security forces are bringing their full capabilities, consisting of Army, Police, Commandos and Air Force, to bear on the situation", it said, adding that USA forces "stand firm beside our Afghan partners and will continue to reinforce this Afghan-led offensive".

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman warned there could be more fighting Wednesday.

The US carried out drone strikes overnight and the Afghan army is still clearing the city, according to Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials.

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

Gen. Mohammed Radmanish, chief spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said the situation "was under control".

Many radio and television channels in the province have stopped broadcasting, fearing for their employees' lives, according to media watchdog Nai.

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

Farah is a poppy-growing province in a hard to reach part of Afghanistan.

The insurgents have tried several times to take provincial capitals in recent years, including Kunduz and Lashkar Gah, with the Afghan army deploying significant numbers of troops to hold those cities and push the militants out.

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