Commandos deployed in 3 key government compounds in Farah city

Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

Taliban militants and Afghan security forces fought running street battles after an overnight attack by extremists on the city of Farah in western Afghanistan.

Taliban militants, who ruled the country before being ousted in late 2001, have intensified armed attacks against security forces since April 25 during their annual rebel offensive.

Unconfirmed reports said the Taliban had seized Farah's central prison and freed several hundred inmates, including dozens of militants.

The Taliban have frequently claimed they try to avoid civilian casualties, but human rights organizations have counted thousands of civilian deaths caused by insurgent violence in recent years - many the result of Taliban attacks in populated urban areas. They captured several security checkpoints inside and around the city.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and IS since the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat role in the country in 2014, shifting to a support and counterterrorism mission.

Danish at a joint press conference with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Mohammad Radmanish said that security forces from southern Kandahar and western Herat provinces have been deployed to the province to "eliminate the threats".

Reinforcements including commando units as well as the Afghan air force were battling Taliban fighters around the city, he said.

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Clashes between militants and security forces forced Farah residents to close shops and businesses. Another provincial council member, Dadullah Qani, confirmed Hissaini's comments, the sound of gunfire and explosions audible as he spoke to an AFP reporter by telephone.

"There were eight terrorists who carried out a coordinated attack in Jalalabad city, killing ten people", Khogyani said. Both the Taliban and Islamic State forces have staged shooting and suicide bombing attacks in Kabul and several other cities. Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents.

The Taliban urged residents to stay indoors and vowed not to harm anyone.

Farah is a poppy-growing province in a hard to reach part of Afghanistan which a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline will traverse.

In 2017, insurgents tried to overrun the capital three times, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

But it has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years.

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