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Commandos deployed in 3 key government compounds in Farah city

Canadian soldiers patrol an area in the Dand district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday

Afghan officials say Taliban insurgents have attacked Farah city, the capital of Farah province in western Afghanistan near the border with Iran, killing and wounding dozens of security forces.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said at least six security forces were killed and 12 others, including the deputy provincial police chief, were wounded in the attack.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying fighters came in from different directions and quickly overran multiple of checkpoints.

"Security checkpoints around the city have collapsed into the hands of the Taliban, causing high casualties among security forces", he said.

Farah province, which borders Iran, has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years, and there have always been fears that the city is vulnerable.

"I saw two rickshaw drivers on the ground with their arms blown off", said Khan Mohammad, a local resident who saw the initial blasts and the start of the gun battle.

However, videos clips circulating in social media show Taliban fighters searching cars on the main square of Farah city.

Bakhtawer said casualties were high among security forces, but could not provide a precise number.

He said commando units and other reinforcements had been sent in, with the support of Afghan warplanes.

"At least thirteen Taliban militants" militants have been killed during separate clashes which erupted in three northern province" provinces of Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, the country's defense authorities have confirmed.

Hissaini added: 'Heavy fighting is going on and Taliban are in the city but the police headquarters and NDS (the Afghan intelligence agency) have not fallen to them.

The insurgents in a statement warned residents to remain in their homes and "stay calm". There are plans for a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline to traverse it.

Despite security concerns, the Taleban have pledged to cooperate with the project.

Farah has been the scene of intense fighting in recent years. The insurgents captured it in 2015 and again in 2016, but in both cases it was retaken after only a few days amid heavy fighting and airstrikes.

"The US forces conduct airstrikes by using unmanned aerial vehicles in the province" province to clamp down the militants" militants, according to the reports. Hundreds of militants have moved there as U.S. and Afghan forces have stepped up operations in Helmand.