The Taleban captured a district in western Afghanistan on Monday (March 12), officials said, as security continues to deteriorate in the besieged province of Farah.
Fared Bakhtawer, the head of the Farah's provincial council, said initial reports indicated that about 15 members of the government security forces were killed and wounded in the assault, which was launched late on March 11.
Local television station 1TV reported that at least 10 police officers, including the chief of police, were killed in the Taliban attack.
"The overall situation in Afghanistan probably will deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taleban-led insurgency, unsteady Afghan National Security Forces performance, and chronic financial shortfalls", Mr Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, told the US Senate last week.
A report said other extremist groups, such as the Islamic State (IS), outlawed in Russian Federation, have also expanded their activities both in the country and in the neighbouring states.
"The Anardara district headquarters is under the insurgents' control and right now, an intense battle is going on all around the district centre and government offices", said Bakhtawer.
"We sent more troops to the district and also called in air power to take part in ongoing fighting to halt the Taleban's progress", Mr Mehri said.
The Taliban promptly claimed responsibility, with Taliban spokesman Qari Yusouf Ahmadi saying in a statement to the media that the group was behind the attack.
Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said two other people in the vehicle were wounded in the attack, which was in the Bati Kot district.
Residents of Farah city have complained bitterly about security in the province, where some police units are alleged to collude with Taliban fighters, selling them weapons and ammunition.
Although they have failed to take any major provincial cities, the insurgents have several times seized district centers, even if they have often been driven off soon after by government reinforcements.