Taliban, Afghan forces clash in Herat, govt sends reinforcements
Afghanistan has deployed hundreds of commandos to Herat as the ongoing clashes intensified in the western city between the Taliban and Afghan security forces. The Afghan ministry of defense said the members of the special force have been sent to Herat adjoining Iran on Sunday, a day after the Taliban advanced closer to the central parts of the city.
Tolo News channel reported citing local officials that the clashes have also intensified in several villages in the western parts of Herat city and said the provincial governor's spokesperson Jailani Farhad said that around 100 Taliban have been killed in the attacks.
“There are clashes in Pul-e-Malan on the battlefield and the Taliban were prevented from advancing. Sometimes troops move forward and then retreat but it does not mean that the lines were broken,” Abdul Saboor Qane, the provincial governor, said according to the channel.
“The Taliban's war is a psychological war, and it wants to cause panic among the people. I urge the people of Herat not to lose their spirit," Colonel Mohammad Nasir Alizai, the commander of a commando unit from Zafar 207 Military Corps, was quoted as saying by Tolo News.
Abdul Rahman Rahman, a senior deputy of the interior ministry, also visited Herat city on Sunday and said that a large-scale operation will be launched against the Taliban in Herat, according to Tolo News. “We have come with the security forces from Kabul and these forces have joined Herat forces. We will act as soon as possible to defend the Herat people,” Rahman was quoted as saying by the channel.
The clashes have been going on in the western parts of Herat city and Guzara and Karokh districts for the last four days.
Tolo News reported that at least 20 people, including 16 security force members, were killed and 90 others were injured in the past four days of fighting in Herat, citing data from the area's regional hospital. Local officials told the channel that hundreds of families have been displaced in the southern parts of Herat city due to the ongoing clashes. “The Taliban has suffered heavy casualties during the clashes,” local officials told the channel.
Afghanistan has seen a surge in violence since early May when US-led foreign forces began a final withdrawal and the Taliban has begun assaulting provincial capitals, including Lashkar Gah, Kandahar and Herat, after the group seizes rural territories and captured key border crossings.