By Bijan Razzaghi
US and Afghan forces conducted a major operation this past week to remove the Taliban from Farah city in Farah Provence Afghanistan. Taliban forces initially stormed the city with hopes of occupying it and establishing administrative control. Immediately after Afghan Special Forces supported by US Special Operations forces and air support pushed the Taliban from Farah.
US led forces engaged Taliban fighters with a combination of US Air Force A-10C and Afghan Air Force A-29 close support aircraft, as well as light infantry. The operation was the first time US and Afghan fixed wing air assets worked in conjunction with each other. Taliban anti air capabilities were limited to shoulder fired SA-7 missiles and small numbers 23mm AAA. The combination of air power and special operations forces were able to overwhelm the Taliban in a matter of days.
The Taliban force that attacked Farah were equipped with Humvee’s, Technical vehicles and supported by mortars and 107 mm rockets. Some of the Taliban fighters were equipped with tactical gear as well and were likely members of Red Unit a Taliban Special Forces division. The shift in strategy of the Taliban highlights the groups objective of trying to consolidate power in Afghanistan’s provinces and reestablish the Islamic Emirate that controlled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.
Farah province along the Iranian border has been very calm throughout much of the Afghan war as most of the heavy fighting was focused along the Pakistani border in Helmend, Kandahar and Kunar provenances. The recent attack highlights the Taliban’s bolder strategy to consolidate power in districts where they previously lacked influence. Small sporadic fighting continues in Farahs outskirts.