The Taliban launched an attack on Farah City, the provincial capital of Farah province late last night and fighting is ongoing inside the city. Farah City is the third capital that has come under attack by the Taliban in the past week. The fighting takes place as the US is considering inking a withdrawal deal with the Taliban to extricate itself from Afghanistan.
The assault on Farah City was launched from three sides, according to Afghan officials and the Taliban. Afghan officials claim the Taliban has been “pushed back” and fighting is ongoing on the city’s outskirts, TOLONews reports.
The Taliban tells a different story. It claims fighting is continuing inside the city, it overran a recruitment center, and “is currently under siege in Farah district administration center.” Khaama Press confirmed the Taliban was inside “the Recruitment Compound of the Afghan Army.” A Taliban spokesman released a short video of its fighters walking the streets of Farah City (see video above).
The Taliban also claims it overran the Ana Dara district center in Farah province. The district has previously been considered contested by FDD’s Long War Journal. The Taliban claim cannot be independently confirmed, however the group has been accurate about such reports in the past.
The Taliban took partial control of Farah City during an attack in May 2018. Afghan officials and Resolute Support denied the Taliban entered the city, but videos showing Taliban fighters inside the city as well as statements from residents proved this was false.
Farah City is the third provincial capital to come under direct Taliban threat in the past week. The Taliban assaulted Kunduz City and Pul-i-Khurmi in Bahglan at the end of last week. Afghan officials claim that the Taliban has been driven from Kunduz City, however heavy fighting is reported in the surrounding districts.
In Baghlan, the Taliban still maintain a foothold on the city outskirts. Fighting there has entered its sixth day. The Taliban has also shut down the roads leading into the provincial capital, residents told TOLONews. The Taliban claims it has attacked Afghan forces in the surrounding districts.
The Taliban has stepped up its operations throughout the country as the Trump administration considered signing a deal with the Taliban that focuses on the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Yesterday, the Taliban killed 12 people, including an American and a Romanian soldier, in a suicide attack outside of an NDS headquarters in Kabul. Another Taliban suicide bomber killed an unspecified number of Afghan security personnel in an attack on a military convoy in Logar province.
The Taliban isn’t conducting military operations merely to increase its leverage in negotiations with the US, as is commonly claimed. Negotiations with the US have ended, and the Taliban had all the leverage it needed as US officials, including President Trump telegraphed that they have tired of the fight and would withdraw troops.
The Taliban’s military plan matches its political objective to reimpose the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Taliban has been clear in its communications that it will not negotiate with the Afghan government, which it has labeled an “impotent” “stooge” and “puppet” of the US. The uptick in attacks are designed to soften an already weak Afghan military and government in anticipation of a US withdrawal. Additionally, the Taliban’s offensives are designed to send the message to the Afghan people that it will be around long after US forces leave.
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