Taliban ‘retreat’ as US, Afghan forces hold western city

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HERAT, Afghanistan: Afghan commandos and the US air force have driven the Taliban to the outskirts of Farah, officials said on Wednesday, after a day-long battle to prevent the insurgents from seizing control of the western provincial capital. The US carried out more drone strikes overnight and the Afghan army is still clearing the city, Afghan and NATO officials said. Shops, offices and schools remain closed, with residents frightened to leave home after hours of heavy fighting. A NATO spokesman warned there could be more fighting on Wednesday. “The Taliban have retreated from the city and positioned their forces in the outskirts,” provincial council member Dadullah Qani said on Wednesday. Fighting continued late into the night, he said. Aref Rezaee, a spokesman for the Afghan army’s 207th Corps, said that with their help the Taliban were forced from the city at around midnight, some 24 hours after residents told Agence France-Presse the initial assault began. “We have started a clearing operation. (NATO’S) RS (Resolute Support mission) forces are also deployed in Farah airport. They were involved in providing air support,” he said.

AFP

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