Taliban battle their way into western Afghan city

Taliban battle their way into western Afghan city
Heavy fighting is reported to have been going on in Qala-e-Naw all day. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: The Taliban fighters briefly entered a key city in western Afghanistan as the militant group pursues a rapid advance before Nato troops leave.

Local government officials had been moved to a nearby army base as Taliban moved towards the centre of Qala-e-Naw.

But the defence ministry and the local officials later said the group were dislodged from government buildings and troops had cleared most of the city.

The Taliban is making gains rapidly in Afghanistan as the US and allies pull out.

The vast majority of remaining foreign troops in Afghanistan have left ahead of an 11 September deadline, leaving the Afghan army in sole charge of security.

Officials said that Naw, in the western Badghis province, security forces carried out air strikes to clear militants from Qala-e-Naw and special forces were used to remove insurgents from the government buildings they had briefly occupied.

Before the apparent turnaround, local sources said that the Taliban moved on the city’s prison and freed about 400 inmates, including more than 100 of the Taliban fighters.

Afghan forces guarding the prison were reported to have surrendered to the militant group without a fight.

Governor Hisamudin Shams said the headquarters of the intelligence service had been set on fire and he had seen the Taliban in the district of Qala-e-Naw where he lives.

But the governor had denied reports the city had fallen to the Taliban, and said Afghan troops were defending it.

Neighbouring countries of Afghanistan are bracing themselves for a potential influx of refugees if the fighting continues to intensify.

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