The Taliban attacked the town of Farah

The Taliban attacked the town of Farah

Six members of Afghan security forces and eight Taliban militants were killed on Tuesday after heavy fighting in Farah city, the provincial capital of the western province of Farah.

Defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said at least 10 insurgents and two Afghan security force members had been killed so far.

Social media images showed bodies of government troops on the streets in one area, while video images released by the government showed helicopters firing on a hill outside the city.

Mujahid said Taliban fighters launched a multipronged attack and overran a large number of checkpoints belonging to Afghan security forces in the city.

Fared Bakhtawer, head of the Farah provincial council, said the insurgents overran several security checkpoints in the provincial capital of the same name and that heavy fighting was underway.

The NATO RS mission was established in 2015 with non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), who assumed nationwide responsibility for Afghanistan's security following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission.

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Unconfirmed reports said the Taliban had seized Farah's central prison and freed several hundred inmates, including dozens of militants.

He said fighting had come close to the provincial governor's house and police headquarters and the governor and other officials had left the city.

The attack began at about 2 a.m. in Farah city, near the Iranian border.

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

Fighters are targeting journalists in Afghanistan because they are weakened and want more news coverage in order to undermine the country's electoral process ahead of an expected vote in October, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has said.

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. A total of 43 Taliban fighters were killed during the battles in three different districts, he added. Gunfire and explosions could be heard as he spoke to an AFP reporter by telephone.

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The insurgents in a statement warned residents to remain in their homes and "stay calm".

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

Farah is a poppy-growing province in a hard to reach part of Afghanistan. Despite the pressure of greatly stepped-up US and Afghan airstrikes, the Taliban have shown little interest in the Afghan government's offer of a comprehensive peace agreement.

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

Although the insurgents have been unable to take and hold any provincial centre, they are active across Afghanistan and the government has firm control over no more than 56 percent of the country, according to USA estimates.

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