In Afghanistan attacked the roadblocks

Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

The assault comes as the Taliban are stepping up their spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture by the Afghan government.

"Heavy fighting continues inside the city and aircraft have just started bombarding Taliban positions", she told AFP Tuesday from inside Farah.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement that "serious measures" had been taken to defend Farah after the militants launched their offensive from the city's north side.

However, another official said that "the Taliban captured several security checkpoints inside and around the city".

In the last week, clashes between security forces and militants in Farah, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghor and Badakhshan province ended in high casualty rates.

Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, a lawmaker form Farah province, also confirmed the Taliban attacks.

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. The fighters launched the attacks from four directions on the city, which has over 50,000 residents.

Local media reported that the militants take control of several government offices, including the provincial department of National Security Directorate (NDS), the country's intelligence agency.

There was no immediate confirmation from NATO's mission in Kabul.

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"The situation is under control and will change by the end of the day", he said.

Clashes between militants and security forces forced Farah residents to close shops and businesses.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the Afghan air force was also taking part in the battle.

"NDS forces in their headquarters are engaged in heavy clashes with the Taliban".

According to a local hospital official, at least two people were killed and 16 more were injured, including Abdul Raziq Sherzad, the deputy police chief. Local residents fear the whole province may fall to the insurgents.

Clashes have been ongoing for the past few months in different parts of Farah province. There are plans for a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline to traverse it, a project the Taliban have pledged to cooperate with.

Footage released on social media shows that a number of security forces' vehicles have been torched and that the Taliban have entered a building used by the security forces.

The attack on Farah is the first siege of a provincial capital this year. During 2017, they failed three times to seize the city.

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