Heavy Clashes in Major Western Afghan City of Herat

Security forces say Taliban pushed to nearby villages

While the focus in recent days has been on Taliban advances in other cities, including the near total capture of Lashkar Gah, a major fight is ongoing in and around the city of Herat. Herat is the third largest city in Afghanistan and one of the most important cities in the country’s west.

Herat was hit last weekend, and fighting has picked up since. On Wednesday, local officials claimed to have expelled the Taliban out south of the city, and the battle has spread to the villages down in that area.

Ten Taliban were reported killed in fighting in the villages of Ghaibatan and Hawad, and two pro-government fighters were also said killed in the past 24 hours. The security forces are emphasizing that their military focus is on keeping the Taliban from bringing anyone else into the city.

At the same time, some officials suggested that the Taliban spread through the residential areas in Herat and that those areas are going to still have to be cleared. After eight days of fighting, this could be the start of another long battle.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.