- The Taliban launched a coordinated attack on the Afghan capital of Farah province on Tuesday, forcing the US to send in A-10 Warthogs in a show of force.
- Dozens of Taliban fighters have been killed, and Afghan forces have suffered casualties, but there is disagreement between local reports and the NATO-led Resolute Support mission as to how far the Taliban have penetrated the city.
- A Resolute Support spokesman told Business Insider that the fighting remains on the outskirts, whereas multiple local reports indicate that the Taliban has taken over large sectors of Farah City.
The Taliban launched a coordinated attack on the Afghan capital of Farah province on Tuesday, forcing the US to send in A-10 Warthogs in a show of force, according to numerous media reports and a spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
The Taliban, equipped with HUMVEEs and Afghan police pickup trucks, attacked multiple Farah City checkpoints and took over an intelligence headquarters, according to Long War Journal.
“There is fighting still going on in the city of Farah,” Lt. Col. Martin L. O’Donnell, a spokesman for Resolute Support, told Business Insider over the phone, which “despite rumours to the contrary, remains on the outskirts of the city, three kilometers to the north and west.”
“You’ve got Army, police, commandos and Afghan air force involved in the fight,” O’Donnell said. “Both Afghan A-29s and Mi-17s have conducted multiple air strikes, and US forces have conducted one drone strike. We’ve also conducted a show of force with A-10s.”
Dozens of Taliban fighters have been killed, and Afghan forces have suffered an unknown number of casualties, O’Donnell said, adding that he was unsure of any civilian casualties.
The Afghan governor of Farah province, Basir Salangi, fled the city of 50,000 people when the attack began at about 2 a.m., but he remains in the province, according to The New York Times.
O’Donnell said the Afghan government remains in control of the city, but ATN News reported that “at least three parts of the city came under the control of Taliban,” Long War Journal reported.
The “rebels had captured the 3rd police district and stormed the intelligence department,” Long War Journal reported, citing Pajhwok Afghan News. Taliban fighters have also attacked the city’s hospital, where they killed two wounded Afghan police officers. They may even be moving on the prison.
O’Donnell said that the fighting is expected to go into the night and even tomorrow, and that US advisers are on the ground, but not involved in the fighting to his knowledge.
“The Taliban have nowhere to hide,” Gen. John Nicholson, commander of Resolute Support in Afghanistan, said in February. “There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group. … We continue to strike them wherever we find them. We continue to hunt them across the country.”
The US announced in November 2017 that it would begin targeting the Taliban’s revenue sources, much of which is opium and heroin, with airstrikes. Some analysts have criticised it as a game of “whack-a-mole” since the Taliban can reportedly rebuild the labs in just a matter of days.
The US has been quietly ramping up the longest-running war in US history, going on 17 years, which the Pentagon says costs about $US45 billion per year.
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