Taliban militants threatened the provincial capital of Farah in western Afghanistan on Tuesday, with fighting underway on the outskirts of the city where government forces were defending two police districts, officials and residents said.
"Heavy fighting is going on and Taleban are in the city, but the police headquarters and NDS (the Afghan intelligence agency) have not fallen to them", he said.
Farah has only about 50,000 residents, and the surrounding province, also called Farah, is a remote and poor rural region known mostly for growing opium poppies. "The global coalition, led by the United States, is focused on providing the military pressure, in conjunction with social pressure and diplomatic pressure that will force them to come to the table", Votel said during a visit to Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe.
As such, Tuesday's offensive "should not have taken government forces off guard", said military analyst and retired general Atiqullah Amarkhail.
Provincial capital of Farah under attack by Taliban fighters who killed and wounded multiple Afghan troops.
He said commando units and other reinforcements had been sent in, with the support of Afghan warplanes.
The attack on Farah was the first on a provincial capital this year.
MoD spokesman Gen. Mohamamd Radmanish had earlier said the clashes continue in the West and North of the city, nearly 3 kilometers away from the center of the city.
Local military experts believed the Taliban offensive followed their loss of control over the southern province of Helmand.
Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban in recent years, as the insurgents have seized several districts across the country.
Poor coordination among security forces and the Taliban's access to more sophisticated weapons have been cited as major factors in the militants' advance.
"The US forces conduct airstrikes by using unmanned aerial vehicles in the province" province to clamp down the militants" militants, according to the reports. They have intensified armed attacks against security forces across the country since April 25 when the Taliban's so-called yearly rebel offensive started.
"The Taliban captured several security checkpoints inside and around the city".
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, in a busy area of the city with many other official buildings nearby, including a school in which about 1,000 girls were trapped as the fighting raged.