Taliban attack third Afghan provincial capital in a week



The Taliban have attacked a third provincial capital in Afghanistan in less than a week, with an overnight assault on the western city of Farah, a provincial governor said Friday as a US envoy was back in Qatar for talks on a US-Taliban deal to end America’s longest war.
Mohammad Shoaib Sabet said there was no immediate word of casualties and that airstrikes had been carried out against the militant group.
This week’s spike in violence, including two shattering Taliban car bombings in the capital, Kabul, comes as US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad says he and the insurgents have reached a deal “in principle” that would begin a US troop pullout in exchange for Taliban counterterror guarantees.
On Friday one Farah resident, Shams Noorzai, said the Taliban had seized an army recruitment center close to the city’s main police headquarters and set it on fire. All shops had closed, he said, and some people were trying to flee. It was at least the third time the Taliban have attacked the city, the capital of Farah province, in the past four years. Khalilzad abruptly returned to Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office, from Kabul for more talks on Thursday evening, even though earlier in the week he said the deal only needed President Donald Trump’s approval to be final.—AP