15 soldiers killed in western Afghan attack

Taliban capture first Afghan district

An Afghan official says insurgents have taken control of a district headquarters in western Farah province.

"The Anardara district headquarters is under the insurgents' control and right now, an intense battle is going on all around the district centre and government offices", said Bakhtawer.

Mr Mohammad Naseer Mehri, a spokesman for the governor of Farah, said the attack began around 4am and the Taleban had managed to enter the governor's compound and seize it.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but both the Taliban and Daesh are active in eastern Afghanistan, particularly in Nangarhar province.

Fared Bakhtawar, head of the provincial council, said that seven army commandos and eight police are among the dead.

A senior official in the province said that reinforcements have reached the area in a bid to push back the fighters.

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The Afghan forces also carried out heavy airstrikes during the day in Anar Dara and more than 50 Taliban fighters were report killed so far, he added.

Six other police officers were killed in a separate assault in the provincial capital.

The development came as insurgent attacks against security forces have stepped up across Afghanistan, including in Farah province.

Khogyani said two other people in the vehicle were wounded in the attack in Bati Kot district.

At least 22 members of the security forces died in the attack.

"The overall situation in Afghanistan probably will deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taleban-led insurgency, unsteady Afghan National Security Forces performance, and chronic financial shortfalls", Mr Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, told the US Senate last week.

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