Militants 'Capture District Headquarters' In Afghan Province

A member of the Afghan security forces

A member of the Afghan security forces

Fared Bakhtawer, the head of the Farah's provincial council, said initial reports indicated that about 15 members of the government security forces were killed and wounded in the assault, which was launched late on March 11.

"Right now the district headquarters and the area around it are under control of the Afghan security forces", Rahimi said, adding that "fighting is ongoing in three different parts of the district" as Afghan forces pursue the Taliban.

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The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility saying the district is now under their control.

The attack triggered a deadly skirmish between fighters from the militant movement and security forces.

Afghan and Western officials warn that the country's security could further deteriorate in the coming year, even as the United States military finds itself drawn deeper into the war, with additional military advisers arriving to help Afghan forces.

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Several soldiers went missing after the attack during which one armored military vehicle was destroyed and two others were seized by the attackers together with weapons.

The attack came just days after 18 Afghan security force officers, including eight members of the Afghan special forces and 10 policemen, were killed in an overnight Taliban attack during a joint operation in the same province.

In January, the governor of Farah resigned, blaming political interference and corruption.

"If they are not fought back, the district will be taken over entirely".

With the approach of milder spring weather, security officials have said they expect fighting to surge as the Taliban, fighting to drive out worldwide forces and re-impose their version of strict Islamic law, step up pressure.

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