Afghan forces battle Taliban fighters in Farah province

A member of the Afghan security forces

A member of the Afghan security forces

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

Eighteen members of the security forces were killed by the Taliban on Saturday in the western Farah province in Afghanistan.

Although no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, Bakhtawer said Taliban fighters had conducted the raid, hitting the district police and administrative offices from severaldirections.

The battle was the latest in a series of Taliban attacks in the province, which is situated on the border with Iran and is one of the poorest in Afghanistan.

Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Wazeri told RFE/RL on March 12 that Afghan forces had withdrawn from the center of Farah Province's Anardara district after hours of fighting against Taliban militants.

Local television station 1TV reported that at least 10 police officers, including the chief of police, were killed in the Taliban attack.

As the fighting went on, an air strike was called in and killed around 25 insurgents, he said.

"There is no word on whether these people have been killed, wounded or escaped the area", he said.

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

The victims are all members of a single family, Khogyani added.

At least 22 members of the security forces died in the attack. Residents of Farah city have complained bitterly about security in the province, where some police units are alleged to collude with Taliban fighters, selling them weapons and ammunition.

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

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