Afghan security forces were supplemented by U.S. Special Operations Forces and U.S. air assets as they expelled a Taliban offensive for the city of Farah in western Afghanistan. The Taliban had infiltrated the city, but took heavy casualties as they were pushed back out — estimates vary, as they often do, but most estimates put the Taliban deaths in the hundreds. 25 Afghan Security Personnel were killed and many were wounded. Five civilians were also killed in the fighting.
Green Berets and A-10s supported the Afghan forces, but most officials are praising this as a decisive victory for the security forces. While the battle was a victory, the Taliban made a successful retreat, and according to the New York Times not a single shot was fired upon their exfil.
When the Taliban began their push to get into the city, the U.S. conducted airstrikes in conjunction with Afghan A-29s and Mi-17s. Watch them engage the Taliban here:
Afghan A-29s have been in service in the country since January, 2016. 30 pilots were initially trained at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, and U.S. coalition forces are continuously putting funds and time into expanding the Afghan Air Force and the A-29 fleet. For example, in March the Afghan Air Force used a laser guided missile against the Taliban for the first time ever, by means of the A-29.
Mi-17s are Russian manufactured helicopters, and they are used by the newly minted Afghan Air Force. They have found quite a bit of success — in a joint mission with U.S. crew, two Mi-17s rescued 2,080 people from floods in 2010. After 13 hours, it would be hailed as the U.S. Air Force’s most successful rescue mission using two helicopters in history, earning pilot Lt Col Gregory Roberts a Distinguished Flying Cross.
The geography of Farah can be slightly confusing. Like New York City in New York, Farah is a city in the province of Farah. The city of Farah is the capital of the province of the same name, and is populated by approximately 54,000 people. The entire province, in western Afghanistan, is a sparsely populated place that is mostly agricultural.
Featured image: In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, Afghan Taliban fighters listen to Mullah Mohammed Rasool, the newly-elected leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, in Farah province, Afghanistan. | AP Photo, File